Seton Hill’s Wukich School of Nursing Opens Fall 2019

When the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill founded Seton Hill College in 1918, they strived to ensure that the sciences would be taught to the women who would attend.

From that foundation, strong programs in Biology and Chemistry emerged - propelling alumna into careers in medicine, research and teaching.

Over more than 100 years, Seton Hill’s programs have grown to include undergraduate and graduate in Physician Assistant, Dietetics and Nutrition, Exercise Science, Health Science, Orthodontics and partnerships with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Salus University that allow students to pursue degrees in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, audiology and optometry.

While the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill had a long affiliation running a nursing education program at the former Pittsburgh Hospital, Seton Hill never offered nursing as a major.

As Seton Hill began exploring new majors that would meet the region’s workforce needs, nursing kept coming to the top of the list.

“As we met with administrators from hospitals and health systems throughout the Pittsburgh Region, we asked them, “What type of nursing program would best meet your needs?,” said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. “Every one of them said that they needed bachelor’s degree educated nurses, and that led us to begin the process of seeking approval for a new BSN program at Seton Hill.”

In December, Seton Hill received approval from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for the university’s new four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree starting in the Fall of 2019.

The program will be offered through the Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing at Seton Hill.

“Seton Hill’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program will serve to strengthen the university’s already robust offerings in the natural and health sciences,” said Finger. “The BSN Program joins with Seton Hill’s programs in Physician Assistant, Health Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, Exercise Science, and Orthodontics as well as our partnerships with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and Salus University to provide our students with multiple pathways to careers in health care.”

Seton Hill’s BSN will help prepare students to meet regional workforce needs and provide healthcare to patients in rural, underserved areas. With more than 500,000 experienced nurses expected to retire by 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need to prepare more than one million nurses in order to avoid a nursing shortage.

"Seton Hill University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program offers students both the scientific and professional education they will need to succeed in the nursing profession and provides them with the liberal arts background that will allow them to effectively communicate with patients, collaborate with fellow healthcare professionals and ultimately become leaders within healthcare organizations,” said Seton Hill Provost Susan Yochum, SC, Ph.D.

The Wukich School of Nursing will be directed by Diane Kondas, who has more than 17 years experience in nurse education and has worked in clinical settings for more than 26 years. Students in Seton Hill’s BSN program will have access to top-notch academic, clinical and research facilities and resources at the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center as well as clinical lab and study space in Maura Hall. Students will be able to pursue minors in areas such as Medical Spanish or an MBA in Healthcare Administration that can help them as they pursue their career goals.

Kondas said, “I am thrilled to be a part of the launch of the Bachelor of Science Degree Program at Seton Hill. The university’s mission of educating students to think and act critically, creatively and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world is a perfect fit for nursing, as it speaks to what nurses do every day as we care for others.”

Clinical agreements with major regional healthcare systems, hospitals and nursing homes beginning in students’ sophomore year will provide them with real-world opportunities early in their education.

The Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing was created through a leadership gift by Seton Hill University Trustee Daniel J. Wukich, founder, owner, president and CEO of Quest Healthcare Development, Inc.

This story originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 Forward Alumni Magazine.