Rutgers Merges Two Nursing Schools despite Objections from Union Members


The Board of Governors at the Rutgers University authorised the merger of its two nursing schools Tuesday, despite protests from the school's union members. Opponents claimed that the merger was not well- planned and it could result in early retirements for many.

The University combined Rutgers College of Nursing in Newark and New Brunswick, and the School of Nursing in Newark to form Rutgers School of Nursing, effective July 1. The new nursing schools will initially comprise of 100 faculty members and 1,800 students.

Defending their merger decision, Rutgers officials said that by bringing resources and programs from several nursing schools together the University will be able to improve nursing education and training and enhance patient care and experiences.

"The new School of Nursing will assist the university to improve health outcomes by enhancing our education and training of nurses, our research activities, our care to the communities we serve and our visibility. Simply put, we will be able to serve the people of northern and central New Jersey more effectively and efficiently," said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, the Kansas City Star reports. This University division will house the new school.

Rutgers union officials said that they will not be recognising the new school as the merger was not discussed with them prior to the implementation. Plus, the union members do not believe that the University analyzed the impact of the merger on faculty and staff at great length.

Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT (staff union) said that the members were scared of  the merger.

"To not know what the impact is of combining two schools at Rutgers University is appalling," said Patrick Nowlan, executive director of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the faculty union, reports. Nolan said that the union will not support the merger.

Strom said that the merger will lower costs and prevents duplication of jobs. Since proposal to expand the nursing program is also on the cards, "there could be hiring as well as layoffs."

The Rutgers board is also planning to merge its nursing programs in Camden and Stratford. They are likely to vote on the proposed merger in June.

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