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RI Nursing Education Center

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 In the News

Providence Journal, September 1, 2017
Former Providence power plant is back in operation — as a nursing school​​

Health care and social services are the highest growth economic development sectors in Rhode Island, encompassing more than 3,200 unique businesses and employing more than 81,000 people, according to data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training. Significant long-term demand for registered nurses is also predicted, with nearly 4,400 openings Rhode Island for Registered Nurses projected over the next decade.

RI NEC location imageThat is why restoring the abandoned South Street Power Station into a state-of-the-art Nursing Education Center – where Rhode Island College and URI will share facilities – is a strategic and savvy use of this long-neglected space. Located at the junction of the state’s major hospitals, the NEC will catalyze existing teaching and research, create new synergies, and foster productive collaborations. The opening of this 133,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, slated for 2016, is an important step in creating a health care hub for the region, and has strong support from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Commerce RI, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Center for Nursing Excellence, and city and state leaders.​

The Rhode Island General Assembly, Board of Education and State Properties Committee vetted and approved the state’s 15-year lease with developer CV Properties, LLC with an option to purchase after six years.

Dean of Nursing Jane Williams and URI Dean of Nursing are working with CV Properties to ensure that the NEC’s design supports the unique elements of each school’s nursing program. The NEC will integrate the most advanced technologies – including simulation labs and mock hospital rooms – into each school’s respective nursing curriculum. Students will confront and solve real-life healthcare challenges in a low-risk, high-tech, realistic learning environment. Further, current Rhode Island nurses will be encouraged to sharpen their skills and meet the demands of today’s constantly changing healthcare landscape through the Center’s continuing education programs.

In addition to situating the state’s premier public nursing education programs in one building, the Center includes administrative offices for Brown University, creating a unique public private higher education partnership.

Dean Williams notes, “The mission of the RI NEC is to provide a state of the art center for the education of aspiring and practicing nurses who will lead the transformation of health care. Increasing numbers of highly qualified nurses with baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees are needed to respond to the growing demands in healthcare including a rapidly aging population, increasingly complex technology, and the need to transform healthcare across system levels. The RI NEC provides a state-of-the-art facility for RIC and URI nursing programs to thrive and grow to meet these increasing demands for high quality nurses. It will also provide an exceptional regional resource to support health and healthcare initiatives, education, and professional development.”

The project is expected to have a positive short- and long-term economic impact on the city and state, creating more than 1,500 construction-related jobs, a total of $248 million in economic output, and more than $90 million in employee compensation. Once completed and fully operational, the project is intended to offer opportunities for the residents of Providence and Rhode Island, enhance nursing education, and create jobs in a range of sectors from commercial start-ups to retail and service sectors.​

Page last updated: September 22, 2017