Commencement Graduate Admissions Graduate Nursing Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies Top Stories

New Nurse Practitioners Bring Advanced Care Skills to COVID Front Lines

The Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies will hold an online convocation for 53 students who have completed graduate degrees in nurse practitioner programs on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 10 a.m. (watch the livestream).  All graduates are currently registered nurses who have been working on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 at Northwell Health hospitals throughout Long Island and New York City. 

“This is a very special, dedicated group of healthcare professionals who have been balancing full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and a rigorous curriculum during a hard-hitting global pandemic,” said Kathleen Gallo, PhD, RN, dean of the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies and executive vice president and chief learning officer at Northwell Health. “They persevered throughout the last semester, attending virtual classes, studying, completing assignments, and taking exams while working day and night to provide the most compassionate care to their patients. They are all true heroes.” 

The Class of 2020 consists of 29 students who will graduate as adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners, 19 others who become family nurse practitioners, and the school’s first class of four psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners. In addition, one student earned an advanced certificate in family nurse practitioner.

The students have met all the requirements of their programs  and are graduating three weeks ahead of schedule, a move designed to ease the burden of work/school balance and allow them to focus more on the task of caring for patients, neighbors, family and self, said Prof. Renee McLeod-Sorjdan, DNP, RN,  chair of the Graduate Nursing Program.  The grads will also be able to employ an advanced level of leadership, skills, and patient advocacy in their new roles as NPs.

Colleen Stubbs, a registered nurse at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore who will graduate with a Master of Science in the adult-gerontology acute care NP track, said weeks of working in the intensive care unit with ill COVID-19 patients while adjusting to an abrupt change to online learning gave her new perspective about her career.

“I realized that nurses are natural innovators; Hofstra has prepared us since day one that education takes on many different forms, and we were able to face the obstacles in our last semester,” she said. “Though there is uncertainty and worry about the future, I do experience hope when I see the different health care disciplines, including NPs, working together to care for these patients. There is a human need, and as nurse practitioners, we aspire to meet that need.”

The Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies opened in 2015 and offers three nurse practitioner degrees, a graduate degree in cardiovascular sciences and perfusion medicine, two physician assistant programs and several advanced certificate programs. It will also launch an undergraduate degree in nursing in Fall 2021 to address a nursing shortage fueled by an aging population and the growth of community-based health care. This May, the school will begin an advanced certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health NP to increase the mental health workforce and address the psycho-social issues at the forefront of this pandemic.

The partnership between Hofstra and Northwell Health, New York state’s largest health system, provides students with a robust and varied network of opportunities for clinical placements across 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities, as well as access to diverse expert clinicians and resources.

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