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  • Home / News / Ursuline plans to offer three new health care degrees in 2023 | Ursuline - Liberal Arts College in OH

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    Ursuline plans to offer three new health care degrees in 2023

    October 24, 2022

    Building on the success for its nationally acclaimed Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions, Ursuline College is expanding its health care portfolio to meet Northeast Ohio’s demand for Physician Assistants (PA), Respiratory Therapists and Nutritionists.

    Last week the Ursuline College Physician Assistant Program, sponsored by Ursuline College, was granted provisional accreditation for its Physician Assistant Studies Program from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Its inaugural class of 30 students starts for this 24-month intensive program in January 2023. These future PAs were selected from a pool of 500 applicants. Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow by 31 percent from 2019 to 2029 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    “Ursuline’s 75-year legacy of educating the area’s top nurses and health care professionals created a great foundation for building this in-demand program,” explains PA Program Director Ryan Adler, EdD, PA-C, CHSE, who helped develop this master’s degree over the past two years. “The provisional accreditation recognizes Ursuline’s commitment to excellence in meeting the ARC-PA standards as well as its dedication to its future alumni.”

    When the PA program students start classes this January, recruitment will begin for a new affordable online bachelor’s program for Registered Respiratory Therapists who have associate degrees.

    “While associate-degree educated respiratory therapists provide great care for their patients, their work is becoming increasingly complex, as evidenced by the recent pandemic,” states John Gallagher, MPH, RRT-NPS, FAARC, the newly appointed program director for Respiratory Care at Ursuline and former education coordinator for Pediatric Respiratory Care at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “The AARC or American Association for Respiratory Care has set the expectation that all respiratory therapists obtain a bachelor’s degree by 2030. We’re building this program to meet that need.”

    Patricia Sharpnack, DNP, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, Dean of Ursuline’s Breen School adds, “Ursuline has had a dynamic RN-to-BSN program since 1985. It serves as a great model for us to build the foundation for this exciting new respiratory care program. While we are still working through its accreditation approval process, we hope to have our first class enrolled for fall 2023.”

    Ursuline is finalizing its curriculum which will provide a seamless transition for students studying with education partners like Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College. You’ll find Gallagher on those campuses this Tuesday during coffee socials to celebrate this year’s Respiratory Care Week (October 23 – 29).

    The College is also launching a hybrid undergraduate degree program in nutrition and dietetics next fall with both online and in-person classes. It plans to hire a director in the near future and hopes to actively recruit students in the next few months.

    “Many of our graduates are from Northeast Ohio and remain here after graduation to serve their local communities,” says Dr. Sharpnack. “These programs build on Ursuline’s current strengths in undergraduate and graduate nursing, social work and art therapy to improve the lives of all in the Cleveland area and beyond.”

    The Full Provisional Accreditation Statement from the ARC-PA The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Ursuline College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Ursuline College. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation - Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-ursuline-college/