Good night nurse! Long Island College Hospital closes its program

Good night nurse! Long Island College Hospital closes its program
Photo by Janice Yi

Long Island College Hospital abruptly pulled the plug on its nursing school — giving outraged students scant notice about the life-changing event.

The cash-strapped Cobble Hill institution quietly revealed this week that it had eliminated its incoming freshman class just six weeks before would-be students were supposed to begin classes.

“These are our lives and it seems like they don’t care,” said Carolyn Faulknor, whose classes would have begun in late August. “I was counting on this.”

Dozens of students — some of whom were accepted into the fall class — were notified this week that the small-but-respected program was kaput, collateral damage from a merger with academic powerhouse SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which is not authorized to offer associates degrees in nursing.

Students are circulating a petition demanding that administrators reinstate the program and slamming them for such little notice.

“It took money, time and preparation [to] apply, get reference letters and prepare for the entrance exam — only to be lead on a string until mid-July,” wrote Nyaisha Emanuel. “It’s not fair to us!”

The letter speaks of the “difficult decision.”

The hospital, located at Hicks and Pacific streets, had long been on life support before the merger: It faced closure last winter — even after scoring a $62-million grant, cutting hundreds of jobs and selling properties to developers for extra cash.

A spokesman for the hospital said that the complex merger negotiations — finalized only three weeks ago — made it difficult to give students a proper heads up.

“We would prefer that the School of Nursing continue to exist, but we don’t know if that’s possible,” said spokesman Ronald Najman, adding the administration had internal discussions about the dilemma and that students would get application fees back. “We sympathize with them.”

But students want more than just condolences: They demand that the hospital promptly partner with a university that’s authorized to award the degrees they seek.

“Cancel the admissions freeze,” one petitioner declared. “And give students the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Long Island College Hospital's then-CEO Dominick Stanzione was all smiles when the merger of his hospital and SUNY Downstate was finalized in May, but he quietly resigned this month.
Photo by Tom Callan