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Facts About Our Program

St. Joseph School of Nursing offers a program leading to a diploma in nursing.  Graduates of the program are eligible to take the national licensing examination for Registered Nurses.

The School of Nursing offices, skills labs, computer lab, and meeting rooms are located in Marian Hall on the campus of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence, Rhode Island.  St. Joseph School of Nursing classes are held at the Salve Regina Campus in Warwick, Rhode Island.

In 2013, St. Joseph School of Nursing entered into a Progression Model with Salve Regina University.  A student of the School of Nursing can opt to take courses at Salve Regina University concurrently with St. Joseph School of Nursing courses.  After graduation from St. Joseph School of Nursing and passing the NCLEX examination, the student would be able to obtain a BSN from Salve Regina University.

A Short History of the School of Nursing

Founded as a three year Diploma School in 1899 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, “St. Joseph Hospital Training School for Nurses” became part of the only Catholic hospital in the state of Rhode Island, which had been opened in 1892.  The first graduation occurred in 1902, with five nurses receiving diplomas.  In the early part of the 1900s, the name of the school changed to St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing.

In 1912, Rhode Island put into law the state’s first Nurse Practice Act, and soon after, St. Joseph’s received its first state approval as a nursing education program.

The year 1930 brought what could have been a major tragedy to the hospital had it not been for the keen eyes and nose of a student nurse who saw and smelled smoke just before six in the morning.  A fire occurred in the laundry chute of the hospital, and the student quickly reported it to Administration, allowing for all 148 patients and all employees to be evacuated safely with no injuries.

By 1937, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegheny, New York took over the administration of the hospital and School of Nursing.  Soon after this administrative change, World War II began and the Cadet Nurse Corps was established.  Approximately forty-five students from the School of Nursing served in the war as part of the Nurse Corps, with fifteen ultimately losing their lives.

In 1951, a formal affiliation was signed with Providence College, allowing students from the school to take their biological and social sciences at the college.  It was not until 1973 that students began receiving college credits for these courses, giving them a springboard to further their education.

The year 1954 saw the opening of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence.  Soon after opening, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital School of Practical Nursing was established and remained open until the late 1970s.  By 1969, the decision was made by the diocese to merge both hospitals under the umbrella of St. Joseph Hospital – with a Providence Unit (at the former St. Joseph Hospital) and a Fatima Unit (at the former Our Lady of Fatima Hospital).  Early in 1973, St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing moved to Marian Hall at the Fatima Unit.  This move would mean sharing facilities with the LPN Program and both schools becoming commuter schools by September of 1976.

With the trend in nursing requiring further education for diploma graduates, the school entered into an articulation agreement with Salve Regina University in Newport in 1992.  The university agreed to accept all of the graduates’ nursing and science courses in transfer, allowing them an easier transition into the BSN Program.  In 1995 the faculty voted to move the science courses out of Providence College, where there was no existing BSN program, and into Rhode Island College, where an established RN to BSN program afforded graduates a second option for transition towards pursuing a nursing degree.

The year 1995 also brought with it the start of a major curriculum change in the school.  As a result of two major needs identified by the faculty, the curriculum was shortened, allowing more time off for students in the summer, and Community Health Nursing was added into the curriculum in order to prepare the students for nursing practice of the future.  The new curriculum which began in 1996 gave the student exposure to the varied settings in which professional nurses practice their art.  Classroom and clinical activities are structured to include group and individual assignments, student presentations and the use of the learning Resource Center, which is comprised of state of the art Nursing Arts and Computer Labs as well as a Health Sciences Library and an Audiovisual Lab.  This design provided opportunities for students with a variety of learning styles.

In the early 2000s, St. Joseph Hospital and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, while remaining separate entities, fell under the umbrella of St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island.  As a result, the word “hospital” was dropped from the name of the school and St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing became St. Joseph School of Nursing.

In 2008, a state wide initiative was undertaken by the schools of nursing in Rhode Island to identify “gaps” in the nursing programs.  As a result of this initiative, two courses were added to the curriculum in 2012.  Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing Education and Leadership and Management in Nursing are offered in the senior year, the credits of which would be accepted at BSN programs in Rhode Island to allow graduates of St. Joseph School of Nursing to continue their education.

In response to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee (IOM) on the Future of Nursing recommendation that 80% of nursing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020, St. Joseph School of Nursing entered into a collaborative partnership with Salve Regina University.  A program was developed that would allow St. Joseph School of Nursing graduates to transition into Salve Regina University to complete the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.  This transitional track is elective and students can choose whether to follow it.

A major curriculum revision will be implemented in the Fall of 2016 for all new incoming students.  This is the result of a directive from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) Board of Commissioners that all ACEN-accredited diploma nursing programs decrease program length to a maximum of 90 credit hours by July 1, 2016.  St. Joseph School of Nursing contracted with a nationally recognized nurse educator consultant to assist the faculty in updating and revising the current curriculum. 

Following a complete review of the curriculum, including tools and evaluative measures, the decision was made to modernize utilizing the framework identified by the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing:  Leading Change, Advancing Health (2011), with quality and efficiency remaining the cornerstones.  This curriculum is a modified concept-based model that will enhance the synthesis and application of entry level nursing knowledge and align with the new focus of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam. The program will be reduced from 146 credits to 77 total credits, of which 27 are general education pre-requisite credits and 50 are nursing credits.  All students will complete all the college level general education courses prior to acceptance at St. Joseph School of Nursing.  The nursing component will require four semesters of full time study, with increased emphasis placed in the areas of teamwork, collaboration, pharmacology, gerontology, and informatics.   With these changes, the length of time in the program and financial burden for the students will be reduced, while students continue to benefit from seamless transition to baccalaureate programs via articulation agreements.  During the transition period, the old and new curriculums will run concurrently, culminating with the graduation of the old curriculum and new curriculum classes of 2018 in May of 2018.

The student body of today is quite diverse, coming to the school with extra needs and problems such as family and employment responsibilities, and financial and time constraints.  With this population, the faculty has become sensitive to the needs of the adult learner as well as to those with special learning needs.  This is demonstrated by the change in the educational approach in the classroom as well as remedial opportunities and student support services.

St. Joseph School of Nursing has always been an integral part of its parent organization, from St. Joseph Hospital in the early years, to present Prospect CharterCARE SJHSRI, LLC d/b/a Our lady of Fatima Hospital.  It is strongly supported by the Board of Trustees with administrative access through the Chief Nursing Officer.  The program has provided states throughout the country and countries throughout the world with more than 2,675 competent professional nurses for 100 years, each carrying with them the pride and proud heritage of the pin they wear, along with the commitment, dedication, and excellence of the “St. Joe’s Grad.”


In alignment with the Judeo Christian philosophy which recognizes the diversity and personal worth of every individual, we believe nursing is a dynamic process that is directed toward the holistic care of individuals, families, and communities. The integration of the art and science of nursing fosters professional caring of the whole person within physical, psychological, sociological, cultural, and spiritual aspects. Nursing care provides the unique function of assisting others in the performance of activities contributing to maintenance, promotion or restoration of health, or to a peaceful death, within the context of the caring environment.

We believe nurses are leaders that cultivate a spirit of community, teamwork, and partnership by collaborating with, empowering, and advocating for others. It is the role of the professional nurse to respect varied patient values, preferences, and expressed needs as part of the therapeutic nurse/client relationship in the care of diverse patients individually, and in the broader context of their support systems and community. Nurses are responsible for promoting the safety of those entrusted in their care with emphasis on maintaining contemporary nursing knowledge. We believe in the integration of current nursing knowledge, based on current evidence, while utilizing technology and informatics to support quality outcomes, clinical decision making and coordination of care.

We believe, by utilizing the humanistic perspective, the adult learner is the center of the St Joseph School of Nursing program. In this way, we recognize the necessity of the educational process to incorporate commitment, accountability, and collaboration of both the student and faculty within the educational environment maximizing the learner’s potential. We respect the individual students’ unique viewpoints, life experiences, and backgrounds that contribute to their abilities, needs, and educational goals. Students are expected to take an active role in their education and professional development by assuming responsibility for their own learning, with faculty as facilitators proving the direction of the educational experience. We believe learning results in a change in the adult learners’ knowledge, attitudes, and values leading to the mastery of technical skills, knowledge application, and decision making.

Graduates of the St Joseph School of Nursing program will be prepared to practice nursing in such a manner that values human individuality, and the unique learning and human needs that arise in the various stages of development. We believe our graduates will have a comprehensive perspective from which to adapt and respond to the evolving needs of society and of the health care system, while practicing in a variety of settings across the continuum of care. Graduates will be prepared to accept the responsibility of the lifelong commitment to nursing’s professional values, professional development, and learning. Additionally, graduates will assume accountability for promoting and optimizing health, preventing illness and injury, and alleviating suffering of individuals, communities, and populations served.

We believe this philosophy is supported by the adherence of core values fundamental to nursing. These include safety, patient-centered care, informatics and technology, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, teamwork and collaboration, and professionalism.

New Graduate Outcomes

Safely carries out responsibilities of an entry level professional nurse in acute, chronic, or community health care settings utilizing evidence based practice.

Collaborates within the interdisciplinary healthcare team to meet the physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the patient with emphasis on effective implementation of the nursing process.

Provides patient centered care to a diverse array of patients and families in initiating measures to maintain and achieve the highest level of wellness.

Demonstrates accountability for personal and professional growth through lifelong learning.

Accepts ethical and legal responsibilities inherent in the practice of nursing.

Uses information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, prevent error and support decision making.

Continually assess and participate in Quality Improvement measures to achieve optimal patient outcomes.


St. Joseph School of Nursing is approved by the Rhode Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education and accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850 
Atlanta, GA 30326 
Phone: (404) 975-5000 
Fax: (404) 975-5020