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Wesley Nursing Program Celebrates 50 Years

The Wesley College Nursing program is celebrating 50 years since the first class began preparing for the profession often referred to as a “calling.” In 1967 the first class of nursing students enrolled at Wesley and completed the associate’s degree in 1969.

Wesley College started the first Associate Degree program in the state of Delaware. The offerings expanded over the years to include a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and RN to MSN bridge program as well as many certificate programs.

“Not many programs in the state have the history of success that Wesley has been able to achieve,” said Professor of Nursing and Chair of Nursing Department Dr. Robert Contino. “We are committed to providing the best educational experiences for the future of the nursing profession.”

The Wesley College Nursing programs have earned recognition over the years, including being named top graduate nursing program in Delaware by U.S. News & World Report. Recognized by Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing Showcase of Regional Excellence Awards, and an End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Award for Wesley’s Palliative Care program, Wesley’s nursing department was most recently  recognized as the top graduate nursing program in the state by TFE Times. In addition, individual and department recognition within the state and regionally has included Faculty Emeritus Dr. Lucille Gambardella being named a 2016 Nursing Legend in the annual Delaware Today poll of top nurses.

“Nursing is one of the most important and meaningful careers one can pursue. It is also a highly skilled and specialized profession which requires a high-caliber education. For half a century, Wesley College has provided that education to our students in Delaware,” said Governor John Carney. “Wesley has been the training ground for some of the best nurses anywhere in the country. I congratulate Wesley on 50 successful years and wish them all the best in the years to come.”

The program upgraded to a newly renovated 36,000 square-foot facility in 2014, located just a mile from the main campus. Johnston Hall Health Sciences building offers state-of-the-art equipment, including high fidelity sim man (providing high-quality simulation experiences), simulation labs, heart and lung simulators, smart classrooms, a home health lab, computer labs, and more to enhance the learning environment.

The nursing program offers clinical experience in the first year, unlike many other colleges that don’t offer that opportunity until junior year. This advantage of clinical rotations early in their college career means that students have the ability to experience the profession up close and personal, helping them confirm that nursing is the right fit.  In addition, the program offers Tau Beta, a Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing, community service projects, mission trips abroad, individualized senior practicum to enhance clinical synthesis, and small clinical learning groups.

“The faculty at Wesley have been able to provide quality graduates; one way this was done was by working together to create a clinical preceptor program which has been in place for over eight years,” said Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy, FACHE.  “Thanks to Wesley, Bayhealth now benefits from multiple clinical nurse specialists in the organization.  This has helped Bayhealth improve quality outcomes.  We look forward to improving the future of healthcare utilizing the Wesley graduates.”

“We are very proud of the legacy of excellence and unmatched service to our region that our nursing program has established over the past 50 years,” said Wesley President Robert E. Clark II. “As the premier program in Delaware, we continue to meet the critical healthcare needs of our state, while educating and inspiring the next generation of Delaware’s nursing professionals.”

The eighteen month celebration will include a lecture series as well as anniversary and reunion events. For more information regarding the events contact Dr. Contino at robert.contino@wesley.edu or 302-736-2482.