Involved Faculty Help Our Programs Thrive

Mary Jane Hanson, Ph.D., professor of nursing and director of the Department of Nursing’s graduate and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs at The University of Scranton, was re-elected as chair of the board for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for 2020. This will be her second term.

CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs and nurse residency and fellowship programs. The University’s nursing programs hold CCNE accreditation.

Dr. Hanson holds certifications as an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner and maintains a current part-time family nurse practitioner practice. She also maintains numerous professional memberships.

Dr. Hanson has published more than 30 papers in national and international peer-reviewed journals including Nursing Research, Western Journal of Nursing Research, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Nursing Education Perspectives, Journal of Health Management and Public Health, The Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Journal of Critical Care, The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners, American Journal of Nursing, and Nursing Management. Her research interests include cigarette smoking, women’s health, cross-cultural study, adolescents’ risk behaviors and primary health care.

In addition, Dr. Hanson has been very successful at securing grant funding and has successfully authored federal grants for the graduate nursing program totaling more than three million dollars.

Dr. Hanson earned her bachelor’s degree from Cedar Crest College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the faculty at University in 1996.


Learn more about the DNP program at The University of Scranton.

Is Nursing Anesthesia Right for you?

The Nurse Anesthesia (NA) program is a full-time, rigorous, and comprehensive 36-month program, which prepares registered nurses to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Students are given the opportunity to integrate classroom content with direct application of advanced techniques in the provision of anesthesia care to patients throughout the lifespan. Clinical skills are learned in a variety of environments, each of which offers experiences in the anesthetic management of specialized patient populations.

More about our program:

  • Prepares nurses to function in the role of certified registered nurse anesthetists.
  • 100% graduate employment rate.
  • 90% first-time certification exam pass rate.
  • 28 months, full-time study to degree.
  • Facilitates a direct access to faculty and advisors on a regular basis while enriching the academic experience.
  • Gain practical knowledge from faculty who bring significant clinical work experiences to the classroom experience.

Learn more about the program, and see if it’s right for you!

What is “The Scranton Domino Effect”? Alumni Unite for a Common Mission.

Marie Yezzo ’01 calls it “the Scranton domino effect.”

As the vice president for professional support services at WMC-Health, a health care network in the Hudson Valley in New York that serves more than 3.5 million patients, she started hosting graduate students in Scranton’s Master of Health Administration program for their residency training five years ago. And she witnessed one Scranton graduate after another impress the hospital staff and go on to earn a full-time job in departments across the health system.

A few have moved on to other hospitals, but five of those Royals remain: Jack Burtis ’15, G’18, Brittany Drake-Koo G’11, Sahar Malek ’10, G’12, Robert Patella G’17 and Connor Shanahan ’15, G’16, all working alongside Yezzo and Elissa Chessari ’02, who is the vice president of operations for Westchester Medical Center, the network’s flagship hospital. These are just seven of the Scranton alumni at WMCHealth using their Jesuit education to make an impact in health care.

The Mission

For Chessari, the mission of WMCHealth resonates with her values and harks back to her years at Scranton.

“Our mission statement at Westchester Medical Center is to provide the highest quality of care, regardless of ability to pay, and that is what initially drew me (here),” she said. “I suspect that this mission is what attracts and retains so many other Scranton alums.”

Yezzo credits the strong network among Scranton health care administration alumni for bringing each of these graduates to WMCHealth. A biology major with a minor in business while she was an undergraduate at Scranton, Yezzo sees similarities in how both she and her colleagues from Scranton’s MHA program approach their day-to-day work.

“We didn’t all go to school (at Scranton) at the same time or even cross paths until we started working at Westchester Medical Center. I’m not sure if it was coincidence or divine intervention,” she said.

“We use our Scranton educations to treat others, both co-workers and patients, as we would want to be treated. Seeing our impact is the best part. Some of us have been with the organization for more than 10 years. We have been part of major construction projects, programmatic development and various initiatives from design to completion.”

Essential Indirect Care

Although, as administrators, the alumni are not providing direct patient care, each is impacting the lives of patients.

“While most on my team are not involved in direct patient care, we support the bedside care providers,” Chessari said. “We work hard to find enhancements to operational efficiency and improvements in processes and business initiatives, which translates into better patient care and better outcomes.”

Patella works as a financial analyst at Bon Secours Charity Health System, a group of three hospitals that are part of WMCHealth.

“I am helping the organization to reduce labor expenses, manage valuable resources and improve departmental performance,” said Patella, a 2017 MHA graduate. “At Scranton, I learned a lot about time management, personal brand management and managing conflict within a team, which I use in my day-to-day work.”

Burtis helps make decisions that lead to better patient outcomes in his role as a revenue integrity analyst. He earned his MHA from Scranton in 2018, after completing his undergraduate degree in 2015.

“I work alongside our revenue cycle team to improve processes and develop tools to help ensure accurate billing for services provided by our network’s physician group,” he said. “I love the challenge and the novelty of my work. No two days are the same in health care. There are always new challenges that really require you to think and problem-solve on your own.”

Similarly, Shanahan relishes the fast-paced environment in his job as the manager of the outpatient department clinics and AIDS care center.

“Health care is a growing industry, and the connections I made at Scranton allowed me to not only understand the potential opportunity in the field, but also allowed me to capitalize on starting a career in such a fast-paced industry at a great place like Westchester Medical Center,” he said. “Working with the many groups and departments within Westchester Medical Center on a daily basis can be challenging, because everyone has different desires and needs. But remembering that we are all working toward the same goal — providing the best possible patient experience — helps us work together to get the job done.”

The WMCHealth network also employs numerous Scranton graduates from the nursing programs, in addition to these health administration alumni. And their colleagues say the Scranton graduates stand out in their contributions to the health system.

“There is a learning curve for anyone who joins a network of the size and complexity of the WMCHealth,” said Anthony Costello, the senior vice president of professional and support services and the supervisor of many of the Scranton MHA alumni. “We’ve often found degree holders from The University of Scranton well prepared to handle the ever-evolving dynamics of a regional health care provider.”

The Network

As Yezzo pointed out, these Scranton alumni are ready to tackle the challenges in the health care field not only because of their rigorous Jesuit education in health administration but also because of the strength and support of the Scranton network. The Health Administration Alumni Council is a major part of that network.

Active since 2014, the Health Administration Alumni Council has built a thriving mentorship program between alumni and current students while celebrating the professional achievements of its alumni, both informally and with the annual Daniel J. West Award for early career success.

Alumni engage in a LinkedIn group and meet annually at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress on Health Care Leadership in Chicago. The council is also involved in planning the Annual Healthcare Symposium on campus in Scranton.

Jonathan Forte ’07, G’09, the vice president of the Health Administration Alumni Council, emphasized how much the alumni council wants to support current students. “Every job that I’ve ever received is a result of some connection that I’ve made as a result of networking or mentorship, and all of that started for me as a student at The University of Scranton — relying on the professional network of my professors and guest speakers and people who felt it important enough to come in and speak and spend their time with current students,” said Forte, who will start a new job in September as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Choptank Community Health System on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Forte said it’s important to share the knowledge these practitioners gain from being in the real world with students, both in Scranton’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

“We want students to have a sense of what being a hospital administrator looks like in today’s health care environment and of applying our Ignatian values learned on campus in health care management,” he said. “This is our opportunity to pay it forward and give back.”


Learn more about the MHA program.

This story was originally published in The Scranton Journal.

Nursing Students Benefit from Equipment Upgrades

The Moses Taylor Foundation recently awarded a $88,000 grant to The University of Scranton’s Nursing Department for the purchase new simulator equipment for its laboratory.

Through the support, the University acquired Newborn Tory S2210, an advanced newborn patient simulator; Pediatric Hal S3005, a five-year-old pediatric simulator; and a Simcart Rx, a simulation medication dispensing system. “Tory” looks and feels like a real infant, with supple skin, lifelike vitals and realistic sounds. “Hal” can track students’ actions in response to life-threatening situations and even speaks, thanks to an extensive library of voice responses.

These simulators allow nursing students to practice emergency protocol safely and in a controlled environment. Additionally, the new equipment permits students to make life-or-death decisions that they may be required to make in the field without the risk to a real patient in clinical rotation, resulting in more confident, successful professionals.

The University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as a doctor of nursing practice. The University’s nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The mission of Moses Taylor Foundation is to improve the health of the people in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

What Does a DNP Scholarly Project Entail?

The Weinberg Memorial Library now has records of the incredible scholarly projects our DNP students dedicate themselves to during their educational experience.

The DNP program requires students to complete an evidence-based scholarly project. As described in the current DNP Student Handbook, “A Scholarly Project is the hallmark of the practice doctorate demonstrating an outcome of the student’s educational experience. The scholarly project embraces the synthesis of both coursework and practice application… Projects are related to advanced practice generally in each student’s nursing specialty, and the project must demonstrate significant potential to positively change health care delivery or improve outcomes for vulnerable groups, families, communities, or populations, rather than an individual patient.” Deliverables for the Scholarly Project include the final scholarly paper and a scholarly presentation, involving a professional poster and an oral presentation.

In partnership with the Department of Nursing and DNP Program coordinator Mary Jane Hanson, the Weinberg Memorial Library now hosts the University of Scranton Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Scholarly Projects Collection. We will store and maintain our DNP graduates’ scholarship in our digital preservation repository, and by publishing their papers and posters in our digital collections, we’ll help make the results of their work freely available to a global audience.

Our 2017 DNP graduates were the first to be added to this collection!

Check it out here!