A generation after Daemen opened its doors as Rosary Hill, the institution added a program that would go on to become an inseparable part of its identity – nursing.

What began as a baccalaureate program has bloomed into one of the state’s most trusted educators of nurses, offering an expansive curriculum responsive to changes in the field – and designed to meet the needs of students and patients.

“Nursing is constantly changing,” said Rose Bell, associate professor and director of the advance practice nursing programs. “Still, when entering the nursing field, it’s important students understand it’s driven by compassionate energy to help others. It’s emotional, it’s scientific, it’s hands-on helping.”

This spirit was proven by the exhaustive service of nurses and other frontline workers during the pandemic, which saw the profession tested, and appreciated, in ways unlike any recent time.

“Nursing is about the journey – not all patients survive. You have to realize it’s not just about caring for patients. Sometimes you’re an advocate, sometimes you’re a healer,” said Bell. “Sometimes you’re a counselor. That’s the great thing about nursing – there are so many different paths to choose from.”

A New Path

This spring, a new path was added at Daemen. The department added a fully online master’s degree in nursing education, which was available before (and still is) as a hybrid program. It’s designed so students can complete the program at their own pace, in accordance with their schedules.

They can also complete their clinical practicum experience in a location near them – key for the many Daemen nursing students who are not local.

“We’ve created programs that meet the needs of working nurses. That’s our student population,” said Cheryl Nosek, chair of the Department of Nursing. “We aim to be user friendly and respect the fact our students have family responsibilities.”

While the bulk of the new program is delivered online, a signature of Daemen’s nursing faculty will remain the same, Nosek said.

“Almost to a fault, our faculty stay connected with students, giving them their cell phone numbers, and are always available to provide extra guidance – to make sure students are successful,” she added. “Our biggest means of recruitment is the positive feedback from our own graduates.”

Word is getting around. In March, the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings recognized Daemen’s graduate nursing programs among the best in the nation.

“High standards create highly qualified graduates – they’re ready to hit the ground running,” said Nosek, “It’s a special profession – I mean, in what other field can you say, ‘Nurses are there when you come into the world, and are there when you leave it!’”