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LEWISTOWN – At her installation ceremony today, Julie Byerley, MD, MPH, Geisinger chief academic officer, announced an important step forward for Geisinger School of Nursing. The Lewistown-based school will move from a diploma-granting to a degree-granting institution, bestowing an associate degree in nursing – or ADN – beginning in 2023.

“Nurses are the backbone of our health system.  Focusing on their needs and preferences led Geisinger leadership to recognize that providing the ADN degree would set the stage for flexible career paths nurses desire,” Dr. Byerley said. 

Janet Tomcavage, executive vice president and chief nursing executive at Geisinger agreed, saying, “The evolution of our current nursing program has been a goal for some time, and we’re thrilled to see it come to life — especially now, when nurses are needed most. Geisinger’s School of Nursing program is one of the highest ranked programs in the state, and this step forward will continue to help even more individuals begin a rewarding career in nursing.”

The School of Nursing will now be organized under a new “umbrella” structure – Geisinger College of Health Sciences – that Dr. Byerley also announced today. Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger’s School of Graduate Education will also be pillars of Geisinger College of Health Sciences. The new structure, Dr. Byerley said, will create more synergy and opportunities for interprofessional learning experiences and greater collaboration with Geisinger’s Research Institute. “It’s a win for our learners and our scientists,” she said. “Our community will reap the benefits of our integrated, cooperative approach to educating the healthcare teams of the future.  The college provides for us an umbrella that sets the stage for continued growth.”

“Geisinger School of Nursing will remain anchored in Lewistown,” Dr. Byerley said. “With a new building and a new degree for nursing and a new West Campus for medical students, plus the growing family medicine residency program, Lewistown is an important hub of learning at Geisinger.”

According to Beth Finkbiner, RN, MSN, director of the School of Nursing, the new ADN will not affect Geisinger’s partnerships with regional colleges and universities who rely on the system for clinical learning venues. “The current demand for nurses exceeds supply and we will continue all existing partnerships to train more nurses,” she said. “Our new degree is a recognition of the need to expand the pipeline even more. Geisinger’s associate degree in nursing (ADN) will help close the gap to offer better, easier care for our neighborhoods and communities.”

Geisinger School of Nursing is accepting applications for its fall 2023 semester. Visit or call 717-899-1106 to learn more and apply.
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