Bittersweet graduation at LICH nursing school
130-year-old school to close shortly after May 23
Almost lost in the shuffle in the ongoing controversy over the fate of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) is the fact that its 130-year-old nursing school will be closing after it graduates its last class on May 23.
Although the decision to close it was made two years ago, well before the recent brouhaha about closing the hospital, its closing may contribute to the overall downcast mood that surrounds the hospital’s uncertain future.
Ron Najman, the official spokesperson for SUNY Downstate, the parent institution for LICH, didn’t return phone calls to the Eagle Monday. However, a source close to the hospital told the Eagle that the LICH School of Nursing (LICHSON) is a “two-year school,” meaning that it graduates nurses with a two-year associate’s degree.
SUNY Downstate itself, said the source, has its own, four-year nursing school, and has an affiliation with a nursing program at SUNY Farmingdale that also offers bachelor’s degrees.
One LICH graduating student, Mary Oyedijo, told the Eagle that “If I had to give a mark from 1 to 10 to LICH Nursing School, I’d give it a 10-plus. I’ve talked to people who are going to other nursing schools, and many of them have the feeling that the administration is working against them.
“Here, if you stay up late at night studying, they’re staying up with you. If you’re sleepless because you feel pressure, they feel the pressure right with you. They do everything they can to help you.”
A review site known as studentsreview.com, however, gave the school a “C’ grade. There were eight negative comments (“Horrible school! Old and dirty!”) and nine positive ones (“My experience at LICHSON was the best I could have asked for.).
A statement from LICH Nursing School itself, provided to a site called Hack College’s School Directory of New York Schools, says the school was founded in 1883. “Our graduates assume clinical care and leadership roles in health care facilities through the tri-state area. The talented and dedicated faculty provides encouragement and support for students as they complete their rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics, psychiatry, medical surgical, and community health nursing.”
Jill Furillo, RN, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, told the Eagle:
“As a graduate of LICH’s nursing school, it’s especially painful to see this important educational institution close. Many of the nurses that work at LICH – and who have fought tirelessly to keep this vital hospital open – also graduated from its nursing school.
“We need more nurses – not fewer. We should be expanding our nursing school programs to meet the increased need for skilled nurses, instead of closing nursing schools.”