Public 2-Year Schools

Ocean County College RN’s Take on the Challenge of Becoming ‘Doctors’

(Seated L to R): Erin Vitale and Terri Ivory-Brown. (Standing L to R): Elizabeth Stevenson, MaryAnn Kaufmann, Tamila Purpuro, Denise VanSant-Smith, and Teresa Walsh.

For a registered nurse (RN) who may already hold an associate in applied science and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, holding advanced certifications and degrees can lead to a more enriching profession. For example, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) allows an RN to specialize in fields such as anesthesia, critical care, gerontology, mental health, pain management, and pediatrics.

A doctorate in advanced nursing can lead to research positions, leadership and management opportunities, and it makes an RN a more highly-skilled nurse. Many nurses who hold a doctorate go on to write books, lead health care organizations, and some may become Nurse Practitioners (NP) offering direct medical care to patients in much the same way as medical doctors.

Seven of 14 full-time faculty members within Ocean County College’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences are attending doctoral programs. This impressive number will make Ocean County College nursing faculty standouts in their profession and the most highly-skilled and professionally-educated in their field of nursing education and clinical practice.

Ocean County College’s Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences Teresa Walsh is pursuing a PhD in Nursing Education Leadership from Kean University. “Education is a lifelong standard of practice for professional nurses,” she said.

Along with Dean Walsh, Nursing Simulation, Skills & Student Retention Specialist MaryAnn Kaufmann and College Lecturer Elizabeth Stevenson are also pursuing the PhD in Nursing Education Leadership from Kean University. “What I love most about being a nurse is the breadth and depth of the profession,” Kaufmann explained. While for Stevenson, “every day brings an opportunity to make a difference to someone.”

College Lecturer Erin Vitale is studying for a DNP in Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University. “The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know,” she reflected.

“A doctorate reminds me of the constant excitement and challenges nurses face every day,” said College Lecturer Terri Ivory-Brown, who is working on her PhD in Education from University of Phoenix.

College Lecturer Denise VanSant-Smith is studying for a PhD in Nursing from Duquesne University. She explained that “The PhD and my research is an effort to find a pathway toward improving the quality of life by improving daily management for those with diabetes.”

But College Lecturer Tamila Purpuro who is pursuing the PhD in Nursing Education Leadership from Kean University, summed it all up. For Purpuro, it’s all about the humanistic side of nursing. “What I love about nursing, very simply, I touch people’s lives. I simply hold the hand of someone dying because I refuse to let them die alone. I tell my students that they may not remember your name, but they will remember how you made them feel. And that makes it all worth it.”

Ocean County College Takes the Lead in Global Outreach

Ocean County College (OCC) is playing a pivotal role in bringing global knowledge to communities and individuals outside the United States. OCC is planning a cooperative venture with the Egyptian Ministry of Communications & Information Technology to open a community college in Egypt.

The new Egyptian community college will be based upon the curricular model of OCC. Instruction will be delivered online by OCC faculty and the College will also contribute its expertise in administrative structure, making use of its established Learning Management System (LMS).

Ocean County College President Dr. Jon H. Larson poses with students from Egypt

The new college will be unique in Egypt by focusing on vocational certificate programs adapted to the needs of the Egyptian economy. The first campus will be in Assiut, followed by a campus in Cairo. OCC’s plan fits well with the needs of the Egyptian educational system with OCC offering a viable alternative to the over-subscribed state universities and overly-expensive private universities.

The Egyptian community college follows some recent successes that OCC has had with three Egyptian universities. OCC has formed a partnership, along with Kean University, with Ain Shams University; Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transportation; and Ahram Canadian University to offer triple-degree programs for Egyptian students. Through reverse transfer, students will be able to earn an associate degree from Ocean County College, a Bachelor’s degree from Kean, and a Bachelor’s from the home institution in Egypt.

With Ain Shams, OCC and Kean are offering degree programs in business. The coursework is delivered online by OCC and Kean instructors aided by faculty/facilitators from Ain Shams. The program has the full support of Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education.

In a pilot program, the first cohort of 59 Ain Shams students received training in online coursework and American college expectations in August 2016. Fifty students successfully completed their first semester in the fall and completed their second semester this past spring. OCC trainers and administrators have noticed a huge progress in the academic and linguistic skills of the students. They are enthusiastic about their first experiences with an American community college and are looking forward to continued success in this new model of education.

Students from the Arab Academy will earn an associate degree in general studies from OCC and a Bachelor of Arts in English from both Kean and the Academy. While for students at Ahram Canadian, OCC and Kean will offer a dual-degree in communication along with English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction and other language training. The first cohorts of Arab Academy and Ahram Canadian students will begin their coursework with OCC in the fall 2017 semester.

Elsewhere, OCC is working with a major international training organization, IMI International/Sana & Saham, with campuses in Cairo, Rabat (Morocco), and London, to expand the IMI Language Institute into other languages (French, German, Italian). OCC will offer language training integrating Rosetta Stone as the lab component, hybrid degree programs in Egypt and Morocco, ESL/ESP (English for Specific Purposes) immersion programs, and non-credit certificates.

And most recently, OCC is exploring dual-degree opportunities in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Dominican community college students will receive 50% of the degree courses via OCC online and the other 50% by Dominican Republic partners such as the Global Institute of Social Science, Institute Technologic de las Americas, and Institute Technologic Superior Communitarian Cyber Park.