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Semester Check In: Pitt-Greensburg’s Nursing Program

by Chelle Jackson

The Nursing Program at Pitt Greensburg officially welcomed students for fall semester 2017.

While the program started off small, with only nine students entering as sophomores this year, the following class of 2022 currently totals 42 students.

“We usually have a ratio of eight students to one, but we have nine students, hence two instructors,” Dr. Marie Fioravanti, Director for the School of Nursing, said regarding the Clinical class.

“In Skills lab it’s ten to two, ten students to two faculty members,” Dr. Fioravanti said. “We’re testing the students to make sure they have the concepts, using techniques, such as putting in a catheter without contaminating it, being able to do different things to the mannequins, prior to doing it in the real setting. They have to practice and show that they’re confident.”

Dr. Fioravanti also discussed the need for a new Natural Sciences building. “It will have all the anatomy and physiology labs, bio, chemistry, etc. That’s what keeping nursing numbers down, the fact that we don’t have that space.”

While she estimated that the funding still needed for the building is in the hundreds, Dr. Fioravanti is hopeful that the new provost, Dr. Ann E. Cudd, will see the need for the building, and budget accordingly. For now, they are making due.

“We don’t have the building yet, but we have facilities that we can go to within the hospitals. Frick hospital has some of the things that we may need in nursing, for example a simulation lab,” Dr. Fioravanti said.

It’s not all smooth sailing for the nursing program though.

“We had somebody resign because of personal reasons. That person left us with a shortage of two classes to teach. We were able to hire the Director of Pharmacy for Excela Health, Dean Matanin,” Dr. Fioravanti said, “he has taught at Pitt main and community college. He has picked up and is teaching the pharmacology courses.”

Linda Smales, MSN, RN, Visiting Nursing Instructor, started in August. She is teaching Skills Lab, Clinical, and proctoring Pathophysiology. “I came from UPMC East and I was an AOD, Administrator on Duty,” she said.

Dr. Fiorvanti is working to continue expanding the program.

“We’ll be hiring two professors, one to start in the spring term, and one in the fall term,” she said. “We can’t have the full complement of faculty until we have the students at a place where they’re taking the courses.”

Because the program is only a year old, the nursing students are all freshman and sophomores. The courses they are looking to add cannot be taught by just anyone.

“Our lecture classes have to be taught by a doctorally prepared nurse or an equal of, whether it’s a PhD or PNP,” Dr. Fioravanti said.

The program is moving forward, with Dr. Fioravanti leading it. She is working to expand it, and is doing her best to make sure that the students are getting the education they deserve.

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