On June 22, 2022, Fairfield University announced that it would be expanding into new territory with its new Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies facility in Austin, Texas, according to an official press release.
On Jan. 27, 2023, however, the program, which will be admitting its primary cohort of students this upcoming May, leaped to new heights as the Texas Board of Nursing approved the program being offered. The new Austin Campus seeks to fulfill the need for the “critical shortage of nursing professionals around the country,” according to the press release.
According to Dean of the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies Meredith W. Kazer, Ph.D., APRN-BC, FAAN, the idea to expand the school came all the way back in 2019, in which she claims that “Geographic expansion was among the priorities grounded in Fairfield’s Jesuit values.”
In order to begin the expansion process, Kazer worked alongside Huron Consulting, LLC in order to conduct research that “prioritized those areas of the country in need of nursing care.” Ultimately, the decision to choose Austin, Texas as the landing point for the new campus was made due to the alumni network in the area and the clinical partnership possibilities.
According to the Egan School of Nursing program overview, many clinical opportunities are made available for nursing students in order to give them real-world experience in the nursing field. These partnerships include “hospitals, outpatient department, rehabilitation and community health centers, public health departments, long-term care facilities, health care clinics and the Fairfield University Health Promotion Center” according to the website.
In short, Austin was the right place for Fairfield University to “make a strong impact,” according to Kazer.
With the Nursing program being approved by the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON), it also marks a growing national presence for Fairfield. As the Egan School of Nursing intends to turn its students into leaders in the healthcare field, Kazer notes that they are bilaterally working to “educate men and women for others.”
The Nursing program offered in Fairfield, states Kazer, will be replicated in Austin.
Lucina Kimpel, Ph.D., MSN, RN and Program Director for the new Austin campus, weighed in on the program itself, as well as its recent approval.
“It feels exciting to have TBON approval!” Kimpel shared. “The process was much like writing and defending a dissertation.”
Kimpel also shared the nature of the program and doubled down on the fact that the opportunities in Austin will be the same as the ones in Fairfield. “The Austin program is the same program as the second-degree nursing program [SDNU] offered at the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies in Fairfield,” she stated.
With the Nursing program being “second degree,” students with degrees in different academic disciplines will have the opportunity to pursue a Fairfield University nursing education. The program, according to Kimpel, will be accelerated, meaning that the Egan School of Nursing will look to “speed the launch of new nurses into the critical Austin market.”
Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Anderson echoed the ideas that Kazer shared.
“I would add that the Austin Campus will extend Fairfield’s geographic reach and support Fairfield’s rise as a Nationally Ranked institution,” Anderson stated. “The first cohort of students will begin in May, with a second cohort in January of 2024.”
In the aforementioned press release, Kazer stated that she is “confident that the residents of Texas will benefit greatly from the care of Fairfield-educated nurses.”
Now, with the approval of the Texas Board of Nursing, the program is officially set to begin in May, as Anderson stated.