Doing its part to address the ongoing nursing shortage nationwide, William Paterson University has become the largest nursing program in the state, with 1,800 students enrolled since launching its new dedicated school in September.

The university’s undergraduate nursing enrollment has more than doubled since 2019, officials said, with the new school offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees and dedicated learning labs to prepare for the real thing.

“We have three skill labs, and that’s where students will practice their IV therapy, oxygen therapy, putting in catheterization,” said Daria Napierkowski, chairperson of William Paterson University’s School of Nursing.

“Our patient simulators breathe, they have pulses, their eyeballs move,”  she added about nurses’ make-believe subjects. “Walking in is very scary as a nursing student and wondering what to do, so here they can practice.”

University President Richard Helldobler said he wants to continue to expand health programs at the school to include other areas like physical therapy and pharmacy.