WILKES-BARRE — A partnership between Misericordia University and Commonwealth Health Wilkes-Barre General Hospital will enable 650 nurses to obtain advanced degrees at lower cost, Bob Hoffman, chief nursing officer at the hospital, said Friday.
Representatives from both institutions announced the agreement in the cafeteria of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre. The partnership offers the nursing staff at Wilkes-Barre General and First Hospital, in Nanticoke, a 20 to 30-percent discount on nursing programs at Misericordia, said Joseph J. Grilli, director of corporate and institutional recruitment at Misericordia University in Dallas.
“The partnership will expand the benefits of coming back to school to more people,” Grilli said.
Nurses are required to obtain a certain amount of college credits bi-annually, Hoffman said. Wilkes-Barre General already provides a $5,000 tuition reimbursement program to help their nursing staff meet those requirements or pursue an advanced degree, he said.
The new partnership will offer the following discounts:
• 23-percent discount for registered nurses to earn a bachelor of science degree;
• 30-percent discount for the master of science in nursing program;
• 20-percent discount for the online doctor of nursing practice degree program; and
• 30-percent discount for part-time evening nursing program for non-nurses.
“Some hospitals have a magnetic status requiring a certain percentage of their nursing staff to have a bachelor’s degree or higher,” said Ashley Grudzinski, a registered nurse at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. “It is hard to pursue an education without a program like this.”
Grudzinski, of Pittston Township, has been taking nursing classes in Philadelphia. Now, she said, she’s researching to see what credits will transfer to Misericordia’s nursing program.
“Misericordia is so much closer to home,” she said.
Samantha Brown, a registered nurse from the Pocono region, also was happy to hear the news. Brown, a mother of four children, said the 30-percent discount, combined with Wilkes-Barre General Hospital’s tuition reimbursement and flexible online classes, makes going back to school more economical.
Registered nurse Kimberly Cote agreed with Brown, saying she was looking to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner, but held off due to the cost associated with tuition and credits. “This will help me,” Cote said.