Rochester Regional to open College of Health Careers at former Irondequoit Mall

Rochester Regional to open College of Health Careers at former Irondequoit Mall

Rochester Regional Health is dealing with a nursing shortage head-on. The health services organization has welcomed the first class of students to its College of Health Careers, located in the once-abandoned Macy’s building in the former Irondequoit Mall.

Eric Bieber M.D.
Eric Bieber M.D.

“Once again, we have created an innovative community asset that demonstrates our deep commitment to health care access, economic development and environmental sustainability,” said RRH President and CEO Eric Bieber M.D. in a statement this week.

The College of Health Careers, which includes Rochester Regional’s Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing, offers students a navigable path to training and education across the nursing spectrum from Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN). Officials said the expansion represents not only Rochester Regional’s commitment to the advancement of nursing education but also its leadership in sustainability through urban renewal.

“The growth and evolution of our education programs combined with our ongoing efforts to revitalize vacant buildings will help create jobs and generate new businesses, and enable us to continue to provide excellent health care to the families who count on us every day,” Bieber said.

While most coursework has moved online during the pandemic, the college’s brick-and-mortar home is nearly ready to open. The state-of-the-art campus is creating a leading-class institution of higher learning for nurses and health care professionals of the future, officials said.

“Access to educational opportunities is a gateway to good jobs and a brighter future,” said Deborah Stamps, Rochester Regional executive vice president, inaugural College of Health president and chief nursing education and diversity officer. “The college will help increase the diversity of the healthcare workforce by providing economic mobility for those living in poverty or facing daily economic challenges. I am excited about the prospect of training hundreds of skilled nurses right here in Rochester who are dedicated to this community and the men, women, and children who live here.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2029 the need for nurse practitioners will grow more than 50 percent. Other nursing jobs are expected to grow by 7 to 9 percent. The R.N. workforce is expected to grow from 3 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2029, a 7 percent increase. The Bureau also projects 175,900 openings for registered nurses each year through 2029 when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed in the U.S., a report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shows.

The College of Health Careers will encompass the existing Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing, a one-year Licensed Practical Nursing Certificate Program. Roughly 300 graduates each year will be qualified to sit for the LPN licensure exam in New York state.

It also will offer an Associate in Applied Science degree with a major in nursing. This is the College of Health’s first degree program. The two-year AAS degree is the minimum education required to take the examination for R.N. licensure by the state. The college also will provide support and opportunities for students’ continued professional development to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Masters in Nursing and doctorate degrees in collaboration with area colleges and universities.

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