|The economic downturn might have temporarily cooled the demand for nurses, but St. John's College, the nursing school across the street from St. John's Hospital in Springfield, is making plans for major expansion.
In the long term, the need for registered nurses "is not going to lessen any," said Brenda Recchia Jeffers, chancellor of the college.
More nurses will be needed to help care for everyone from aging baby boomers to formerly uninsured people who will gain health coverage through the federal health care law, experts say.
Jeffers, 55, said St. John's College, affiliated with the Franciscan nuns that founded St. John's Hospital, needs to expand to satisfy that demand and take advantage of the latest techniques to improve medical care.
The longtime Rochester resident and former St. John's nurse was hired in January as head of the nursing school, which was founded in 1886 as the first Catholic nursing program in the United States.
Jeffers, who is Catholic, replaced Jane Schachtsiek, who had been chancellor since 1990.