Students conflicted about potential relocation to new medical school campus

With the opening of Seton Hall’s Interprofessional Health Sciences campus (IHS), many nursing and health sciences students are conflicted about changing campuses in the middle of their college careers.

The IHS campus, located in Nutley, which is miles from South Orange, will house the College of Nursing, the School of Medicine and the School of Health and Medical Sciences “with a focus on interprofessional education and collaboration,” according to Dr. Marie Foley, dean of the College of Nursing via email. Interprofessional education and collaboration means that students of various professions, including nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy, will be able to learn together.

Some students in the College of Nursing feel uneasy about moving to a new campus. Photo courtesy of Fabbielle Garcia.

All housing for the IHS campus will be located on the South Orange campus, according to Foley. The University will release a list of available off-campus housing near the IHS campus for students who are interested in living closer to the new school.

Shannon Burke, a junior nursing major, thinks that the change will ultimately benefit the College of Nursing, but thinks that it will be hard for some students who do not have cars or would like to be a part of housing on Seton Hall’s South Orange campus.

“I feel as though Seton Hall may even benefit from making some sort of housing for that campus as well,” she said. “As a resident assistant, I will be living at the South Orange campus and will be commuting to the new campus when needed.”

Burke said that she is apprehensive about having to deal with the morning commute, but will have to see what it is like next year.

Anessa Marinello, a dual degree major in occupational therapy in her first year of graduate school, said that while she thinks that new campus will “open a lot of doors” in terms of educational opportunities, the South Orange campus is all she knows.

“I planned on living at home and saving money while finishing up my master’s degree and this changes that,” she said. “I currently commute (to the South Orange campus) and it’s a pain in the butt, so I can’t imagine doing it next year with the extra time difference and the new school is an hour without traffic.”

Marinello added that she will most likely have to find housing near the IHS campus, which from what she has heard, is very expensive.
“So yes, that concerns me and adds a lot of extra stress I did not have or anticipate,” she said.

Victoria Yakubovich, a junior nursing major, thinks that change will be good for the nursing students’ education, but thinks that a lot of things were not taken into account by the administration when deciding to open the IHS campus.

“All social life is in South Orange, especially if you are in Greek life, and that will kind of distance the undergraduate students from the fun,” she said.

Yakubovich added that she commutes and since she lives in Edison, the commute to the IHS campus in Nutley will be pushing an hour.
“What I’m going to be doing about housing is still up in the air,” she said.

Patrick Olowski, a dual degree biology major in the doctor of physical therapy program, is looking forward to the opening of the IHS campus.
“I am extremely excited for the new environment, and I am interested to see the design of the new facility,” he said.

Olowski went on to say that he thinks the move will ultimately benefit the students who will be studying at the campus.

“It will allow students from various professions to learn together and to focus on cultivating collaborative practice to provide the best patient-centered health care,” he said.

As far as getting to the new campus, Olowski is not worried.

“I will be looking for apartments around the Nutley area,” he said. “I know a lot of people that are doing the same thing.”

Emily Lasinski, also a dual degree biology major in the doctor of physical therapy program, will have to commute for her final two years of graduate school.

“I commute, and this (the opening of the IHS campus) will make my commute even longer,” she said. “It’s going to be more difficult getting there but the facility that they are making and the new equipment will make it worth it.”

Foley commented on the school’s plan to help students who still plan on living on or near the South Orange campus commute.

“The plan is to run a shuttle twice a day from the South Orange campus to the IHS campus,” she said. “If we have special events that we want our students to attend, we will request a bus to transport the students back and forth between the campuses.

Foley went on to describe how schooling will be handled for nursing students whose studies will include classes on the IHS campus.

Nursing students will spend most of their first three undergraduate semesters on the South Orange campus taking their core courses, such as Seton Hall’s required humanities and sciences courses. During their first semester of sophomore year, these students will take one nursing course along with their other support courses on the South Orange campus, where faculty from the IHS campus will travel to teach the nursing course.

“Starting second semester of sophomore year, the students will be taking almost all of their courses on the IHS campus,” Foley said.

Dr. Brian Shulman, dean of the school of health and medical sciences, said graduate programs will include athletic training, physical therapy, physician assisting, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, health administration, and a Ph.D program in health sciences.

“For the School of Health and Medical Sciences, all classes will be held at the IHS campus,” Shulman said.

He said that since the students in the School of Health and Medical Sciences are all graduate students, the majority of them will be commuting to the new campus.

“Much of their programs require them to go to a site for their clinical education, as opposed to just sitting in a classroom,” Shulman said. Because of this, most of the students are already commuting in some way.

In regards to how some students are feeling about switching campuses in the middle of their college careers, Shulman is hopeful that they will be more optimistic after they see the new campus.

“Change is my favorite six letter word, and I would hope that once some of them see what this building is going to provide, the students are going to want to be a part of the new campus,” he said.

Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the School of Medicine, shared a message for students who are feeling apprehensive about switching campuses via email.

“I understand your anxiety. As administrators, we are all a little anxious too,” Stanton said. “But, I hope that at the same time that you are anxious, you are also very, very excited.”

She continued to share her excitement about the opening of the IHS campus.

“I think we are all in for a wonderful, once in a life-time experience,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know you all.”

Isabel Soisson can be reached at isabel.soisson@student.shu.edu.