Niagara University has received a $300,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to continue and enhance work done by its College of Nursing to foster nurse resilience, effectively bridge the transition from student to healthcare professional, address a critical shortage in the nursing workforce, increase awareness of health inequities, and develop effective approaches to care in complex environments across Western New York, with an emphasis on Niagara County.

This new funding will be used to enhance the academic preparation of students and improve the quality of care across the lifespan, particularly for the most complex and vulnerable patients in healthcare settings, by the expanded use of virtual reality, telemedicine training, and other patient-care simulation educational experiences and game-training. These on-campus clinical experiences will enable students to develop sound critical thinking and clinical judgment skills.

The grant will also support the new position of resilience and resource officer, who will work with pre-service nursing and other allied health and related direct care-focused students, novice nurses, interdisciplinary care teams, practicing nurses, and other healthcare workers to develop the skills and tools necessary to reduce on-the-job stress and anxiety leading to burnout.

“Proper self-care practices are crucial for nurses in reducing their stress, renewing their ability to provide compassion and empathy, and improving the quality of care,” said Dr. Christine Verni, dean of the college. “Our resilience and resource officer will expand efforts to promote well-being by further developing critical thinking skills that make nurses more resilient when presented with stressors in the workplace, classroom, and/or clinical settings as they transition from the structured educational setting to a hospital or other clinical environment.”

Professional development opportunities will also be offered to nursing students, recent graduates, and other healthcare workers, particularly those early in their career and/or those in leadership positions.

The project builds upon the work started last year with funding from the Cabrini Foundation to enhance technology in the College of Nursing’s simulation and skills labs, develop expanded certifications to create new pathways to the nursing and allied health professions, and facilitate high-impact training for community health instructors.

“At a moment when New York state’s health needs are both acute and wide-ranging, the foundation is supporting hundreds of programs addressing the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers and underserved communities across the state. From building up our healthcare workforce and providing essential resources for immigrants and migrants, to investing in community-based providers that address chronic challenges from mental health to food insecurity, funding this year will again offer much-needed support to underserved communities,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., executive chairman of Visa and chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.

Niagara’s College of Nursing offers a four-year bachelor of science degree and an accelerated B.S. in nursing, both of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The college also maintains a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Center, which provides hands-on opportunities for students while supporting traditional classroom learning and clinical practice experiences, and a skills lab.

The college has long standing relationships with regional healthcare partners, including Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, and Kaleida Health, who train students and hire graduates into nursing roles upon program completion.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of vulnerable communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. Named after a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation funds programs and initiatives across New York State that either provide direct healthcare services or address the social determinants of health. For more information, visit

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