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Creighton, Mary Lanning, Hastings College Celebrate 20-Year Milestone

Creighton, Mary Lanning, Hastings College Celebrate 20-Year Milestone

Twenty years and about 250 students ago, a Jesuit Catholic university, a Presbyterian liberal-arts college, and a community hospital joined forces to create a joint venture that helped change the landscape of nursing education in central Nebraska.

On Oct. 24, these faith-based entities – Creighton University School of Nursing in Omaha, Hastings College, and Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings will hold a special reunion to recognize the program’s 20-year anniversary. All alumni are invited to attend.

The reunion will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital, Medical Services Building, Lower Level, Room C, at 715 N. St. Joseph Ave., in Hastings. No registration is required.

Leota Rolls, M.S.N., vice president for Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital, remembers the program’s beginnings. Rolls and Creighton’s Sheila Ciciulla, M.S.N., then assistant dean of nursing, were dining one night in Lincoln and began to discuss the changing needs of the nursing profession. Mary Lanning offered a two-year diploma program, but its graduates and students wanted more.

Rolls and Ciciulla planned a baccalaureate-degree program for student nurses that would be offered at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital as a satellite campus of the Creighton University School of Nursing. The hospital would supply the necessary clinical sites, Creighton faculty would provide the nursing curriculum, and Hastings College would offer the liberal arts classes need to meet Creighton’s requirements.

Within a year, the satellite program was up and running.

“It took a lot of work in a short period of time to bring this together, but it’s been worth it,” Rolls said. “It’s been very positive for the hospital, which becomes stagnant without students. The students help keep our nurses active, thinking and creative. It also has a positive impact on the area’s economy.”

Hastings College President Phillip Dudley Jr., Ph.D., agrees. “Hastings College is proud to be a partner with Creighton University and Mary Lanning to provide an educational program for nursing students in our community,” he said. “The 20-year history of this partnership is a perfect example of how great institutions can come together to benefit the residents of central Nebraska.”

Since 1986, the program has expanded to meet the area’s changing health care and nursing needs. In addition to the traditional four-year curriculum, Creighton now offers an accelerated program in which students already holding non-nursing bachelor’s degrees can earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing in just 12 months. There also is a program for registered nurses (R.N.) seeking a bachelor of science degree in nursing (B.S.N.).

"The Creighton University School of Nursing is proud to be part of this partnership that prepares professional and advanced-practice nurses to meet the health care needs of central Nebraska and beyond." said Eleanor Howell, Ph.D., R.N., Creighton’s dean of nursing. "The four-year and R.N.-B.S.N. programs allow students who want to stay closer to home the opportunity to enjoy the full college experience. The accelerated nursing program has attracted students to Hastings from Nebraska to as far as California."

(Editors: To speak to representatives at Hastings College, call Christopher Schukei, associate vice president of marketing and communications at (402) 461-7398. To speak to representatives of Mary Lanning Hospital, contact Leota Rolls, vice president for Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital at (402) 461-5106.)

Posted: 10/24/06

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.