State and University of Rhode Island officials ushered in a new era of higher education and health innovation on Nov. 30, 2017, officially dedicating the South Street Landing development project in Providence, home to the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center.
The center opened in August, welcoming URI College of Nursing graduate and undergraduate students, who have access to 133,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom and office space at 350 Eddy St. Rapid changes in the increasingly complex environment for the health sciences demand advanced clinical education and ever-more rigorous academic requirements for nurses.
“The Nursing Education Center more than meets that demand, positioning the University and the state of Rhode Island at the forefront of the increasingly technological medical world. Nursing and nurse practitioner students leave URI poised to provide the care and leadership that patients and our health care systems require,” said URI President David M. Dooley.
The Center combines leading technology with a rigorous experiential learning curriculum, placing Rhode Island at the forefront of the nation in nursing education, said Barbara Wolfe, dean of URI’s College of Nursing.
“The Center is located in one of the most vibrant sections of Providence, where world-class biomedical and health-care learning and research take place every day,” said Wolfe, who was an associate dean for research and professor at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before joining URI in June 2016. “The Center will provide URI nursing students with the best education available in a facility unlike any other, giving them unparalleled qualifications in the ever-evolving health-care field.”
The center is the educational anchor of a regional hub for health care learning, practice and biomedical research sprouting up on land once occupied by Interstate 195. The center — housed in what was an abandoned 19th century power plant for Narragansett Lighting Company, precursor to Narragansett Electric — will help transform Providence’s former Jewelry District into an economic engine centered around technology, education and innovation, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said.
“This is a symbol of what is happening in our state,” Raimondo said. “This is an amazing collaborative effort. A lot of people talk about the great things that can happen when people come together. We’re doing it. Public universities, private universities, private investors, the legislature… We said we the people of Rhode Island are going to come together and move this state forward.”
URI’s graduate nursing programs, from its master’s degree offering to doctor of nurse practitioner and Ph.D. degree tracks, are entirely housed at the center. The nursing professionals enrolled in these programs learn from faculty who practice at the top of their fields and benefit from collaborative opportunities available at nearby leading health care institutions. The Center’s proximity to the state’s leading hospitals and health-care providers, as well as Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, offers students, faculty and researchers unprecedented opportunities for learning and collaboration, Wolfe said.
“Students come to URI College of Nursing expecting access to the most advanced, comprehensive educational experience available,” Dean Wolfe said. “That’s exactly what the Nursing Education Center helps us provide. Students get access to the most technologically advanced simulation and training systems, and comprehensive, hands-on experience that gives them a real advantage as they enter the health care arena.”
Below are answers to frequently asked questions:
Does the opening of the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in downtown Providence mean that URI’s nursing program is leaving the Kingston Campus?
No. While all graduate nursing courses are held at the Center, the “home” of URI’s College of Nursing will remain at White Hall in Kingston. All classes for freshmen, sophomore and first semester junior nursing students will be held on the Kingston Campus. Nursing students begin taking classes at the Center one day a week in the second semester of their junior year and during fall and spring semesters of their senior year. Faculty members have offices at the Kingston Campus and the NEC, and remain available to all students.
Is transportation to the Center be provided?
Yes. Transportation is provided at no cost to students. The University negotiated with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to enhance bus service between Kingston and Providence. These buses also stop at the Kingston Amtrak station, Wickford Junction train station and the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick. Undergraduate nursing students studying at RINEC are given a free RIPTA U-Pass.
Is there parking for students who want to drive to Providence?
Yes. Parking at no extra cost is available for students, faculty and staff at the Center. The University is working to provide more parking at no additional cost at facilities within a reasonable proximity to the Center. Valid URI parking passes are required to access the lots. Free shuttles transport passengers directly from these sites to the Center. These parking facilities are paved, well-lit and secure. Learn more about Nursing Education Center parking and transportation.
Getting to Providence for early morning classes can be difficult. Will class schedules be addressed?
Yes. The University is looking into the timing of the classes at the Center to accommodate students concerned about commuting during times of heavy traffic.
If I am in Providence for an entire day of classes, how will I fit in all my required courses in Kingston?
It is not unusual for upperclassmen and graduate students in all majors to be off campus for an entire day for clinical rotations, internships and employment. Advisors work closely with students to address scheduling concerns. In some cases, students may have the option of traveling to Providence twice a week, but for a shorter duration.
Will there be student housing in Providence?
There is a plan to develop apartment housing as part of the larger South Street Landing project. The housing will be a private development at market rates.