Legacy Continues As One Chapter Closes
Former Saint Anthony College of Nursing Razed While New School Meets Today's Needs
For more than 100 years Rockford's Saint Anthony College of Nursing has provided guidance and training to hundreds of dedicated students who have and continue to serve those in need of healing across the northern Illinois region and beyond.
This week, one chapter of that long legacy was closed as the former home of the college - on the campus of OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center - was demolished. This summer the school moved to the campus of Rock Valley College (RVC), in Rockford. Housed in a gleaming new Health Sciences Center, the College of Nursing shares space with RVC's associates' nursing program, providing a unique collaboration designed to meet the needs of training the nurses of tomorrow.
"The fact that students can begin their education here at Rock Valley and continue on for the baccalaureate degrees, masters degrees and even a doctorate of nursing practice, is an amazing opportunity," says Sandie Soldwisch, Dean and President of Saint Anthony College of Nursing. "Students are beginning to recognize that they can be home all the way through those degrees."
New surroundings, however, do not outshine what has been the College of Nursing's attraction for students all these years. Paula Carynski, President of OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center understands that first-hand as a graduate and active member of the alumni.
"The warm and inviting atmosphere, the high expectations for perfection and for really being the best student possible," says Paula Carynski, President of OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center and former Saint Anthony College of Nursing student. "The grade standard were high. The interactions among each other were established at a very high level. And certainly, the whole philosophy about how you treat a patient with the greatest care and love that align very beautifully with the Mission of Saint Anthony Medical Center and all of OSF."
Soldwisch agrees, and says while some alumni were apprehensive about razing their old school, when they get the chance to tour the new college location they see the opportunity for new memories and experiences.
"It's exciting for them," says Soldwisch. "They're seeing some really beautiful locations, beautiful opportunities for students to be in classrooms that are bright and energetic and full of energies. So, they know that the good things about the college will remain. It is a very strong legacy."
As the only remaining hospital-associated nursing college in the region, Carynski is pleased with the commitment of OSF to educating and training the nurses to come, as well as those serving today.
"There's an opportunity for nurses, not only to fill positions in acute care hospitals, but in all settings across our region," says Carynski. "And I'm very proud of the fact that OSF provided many of those nurses."
The demolition of the former college makes room for additional parking and green space for the medical center's $85 million North Tower slated to open next spring. The addition will have 78-private rooms for medical and surgical beds. In addition, some ambulatory services will be offered, including PromptCare and the relocation of Women’s Services, including mammography, ultrasound and bone densitometry. There will also be space for a retail pharmacy and a demonstrations kitchen.