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Bridgeport Hospital Prepares For Graduation Of Last Class Of Nurses

Members of the BHSN faculty, including Director Linda Podolak (center) pose outside the school’s main entrance.
Members of the BHSN faculty, including Director Linda Podolak (center) pose outside the school’s main entrance. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing (BHSN) will close its doors later this year after 133 years of educating nurses, but not until one last class celebrates its commencement on May 1.

The two-year RN diploma program will transition to a four-year bachelor of science in nursing under the University of Bridgeport (UB), which will also serve as the site of the final BHSN graduation.

“For over 130 years, Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing has been at the forefront of nursing education,” Dr. Linda Podolak, BHSN director said. “It has kept abreast of changing techniques in teaching, maintained accreditation and continued to exceed state and national NCLEX (State Board Examination) pass rates. Even as our doors close, BHSN continues to be a leader in nurse education, earning a Number 2 ranking among all two-year nursing schools in the nation by Nursing Schools Almanac for 2016.”

Bridgeport Hospital opened its doors in 1884, with P.T. Barnum serving as president of its board of directors. The following month, BHSN was established as one of only 15 nursing schools in the United States. In 1906, the first nurse to receive registration (licensure) in Connecticut was a BHSN graduate, and the only Connecticut nurse to serve in the Spanish-American War was also from the school.

In April 2014, BHSN signed a collaborative agreement with the UB to transition its two-year diploma program to a four-year BSN program.

“Although bittersweet, this defining moment brings pride to the legacy that Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing carries to the University of Bridgeport,” MaryEllen Kosturko, Bridgeport Hospital Senior Vice President of Patient Care Operations and the School of Nursing said. “The result will be a nursing workforce that is better equipped to meet the more demanding academic and clinical requirements of the profession – and provide a higher quality of care for patients.”

BHSN is the last operational hospital-based diploma nursing program and the oldest school of nursing in Connecticut, and one of the oldest nursing schools in the United States. The school graduated its first class in 1887 and since then, over 5,200 students have graduated.

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