The goal of the innovative new program is to address the nursing deficit

Like many states in the United States, Michigan faces a desperate shortage of nurses. To meet health-care needs, officials project that the state will need an additional 6,620 registered nurses each year from now until 2028.

Brandi Johnson, president of the Michigan Community College Association, said: “The openings are huge and quite intense. Nurses drive daily from Ontario and Windsor, Canada [work] So in Michigan we are recruiting internationally while I think there is a strong agreement that we should recruit and build the pipeline with our own Michigans. “

That’s why the MCCA and three other organizations – the Michigan Association of State Universities, the Michigan Independent College and the University and the Michigan Health and Hospitals Association – have formed a new partnership aimed at graduating more nurses from state institutions.

The plan, announced June 1, will allow students to earn a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing at a community college instead of moving to a four-year college or university campus to complete their degree. The agencies have asked the Michigan state legislature for $ 56 million in funding for the program, including grants of up to $ 2 million for community colleges. Johnson said he expects the plan to be officially launched in the fall of 2023.

Johnson said allowing students to graduate from a community college represents a big change.

“It’s really been a hyper-divisive, political hot potato around the idea of ​​whether Michigan community colleges will be able to offer bachelor’s degrees,” Johnson said. “And what this proposal does is it raises the political question from a policy or statutory perspective and it really allows community colleges and universities to work together to the best of their resources.”

The plan means Michigan students will now be able to earn BSN at 28 community colleges across the state. The first three years of the community college faculty program will teach — or 90 credits,, then the faculty of the University of Michigan will come and teach the fourth year on the community college campus.

“We think this is the most efficient, cost-effective and accessible way to create more BSNs, especially through all the resources of a community college,” Johnson said.

Robert Lefebvre, president of Michigan Independent College and University, said the partnership benefits both the state’s two-year and four-year institutions.

“To make a personal program financially viable [at a community college]”You need about 15 students, and we can’t always get 15,” Lefebvre said. “So if we can run a program at Alpena Community College, for example – because they are physically four years away from any other community college – we can run a program there, and it will be financially viable. [for them] Although it will be small. “

The partnership will also manage grants to Michigan community colleges from the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities. Each community college would be eligible for a 2 million grant to run the program, which it could use to buy instructional equipment, provide financial support for students, or recruit more faculty, Johnson said.

“It has historically been a challenge: finding faculty, especially in very rural parts of our state, who are willing to teach them or can really compensate them enough that it really makes sense to teach them as opposed to nursing practice,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Lefebvre said they were hopeful their request would be approved in the state budget, which should be signed by the end of June.

Lack of capacity

Michigan is not the only state looking for innovative ways to educate and train more nurses. Over the past two years, institutions across the country have expanded programming and faculty to further support nursing students.

The problem is not the lack of interest of the students. The American Association of College of Nursing notes that in 2021, a total of 91,938 eligible applications were denied admission to nursing schools across the country. According to a May report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, lack of capacity is forcing universities to turn their backs. “Ten thousand eligible students” from the nursing program each year. Many institutions face a lack of nursing faculty, limited clinical placements for student nurses, and insufficient space to accommodate more students, the report said.

The COVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated the nursing deficit. Exhausted and emotionally drained, many current nurses are quitting their jobs altogether; Between 2020 and 2021, the nursing workforce fell 3 percent – the biggest decline in more than two decades – according to the CAP report.

At the same time, according to enrollment data from the American Association of College of Nursing, student enrollment in entry-level undergraduate nursing programs increased by 3.3 percent in 2021, despite concerns that the epidemic could discourage entry into the profession.

Like Michigan, other states are developing new programs and plans to accommodate more nursing students.

Connecticut Faculty Recruitment

According to a report by the Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council, there were approximately 50,000 registered nurses in the state in 2020, more than half of whom are over 50 years of age. The council reported a “significant shortage” of health-care workers, with an estimated annual requirement of 3,000 new RNs and 2,500 certified nursing assistants.

To address that shortage, Yale New Haven Health has announced a partnership with Fairfield University, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University and Southern Connecticut State University to provide more clinical faculty to train nursing students.

Fairfield University School of Nursing Dean Meredith Wallace Kajar said the program will launch with the first batch in September. This will bring more faculty from Yale New Haven Health to the Fairfield campus, which he hopes will allow the university to graduate more registered nurses. Yale New Haven Health has pledged nearly 1.7 million over the next four years to provide scholarships and books to students who would otherwise not be able to attend.

“One of the challenges we feel most is the availability of qualified faculty and clinical sites to educate our students,” Kajar said. “We are bound by these limitations. And so it is difficult for us to educate extra students, because we do not have the faculty and the clinical site to provide that education. “

Between Yale New Haven Health and the four organizations, the partnership promises to graduate more than 550 additional nurses over the next four years, Kazar said.

Fill in the gaps in Florida

Tallahassee Community College announced last month that they plan to double the size of its nursing program in the next few years to meet the needs of the community.

According to multiple reports, Florida is projected to have 59,100 less nurses by 2035. In response, the state has allocated $ 125 million to the state’s nursing education program to provide scholarships and expand infrastructure for clinical training in colleges and universities.

Calandra Stringer, provost at Tallahassee Community College, said the college expects to receive more than $ 825,000 in recurring funding to hire more nursing instructors.

“With the money we’ve received, we’re going to double the number of students in our program,” Stringer said. “But we are going to double the number of faculties. At the moment, we are focusing on recruiting 10 new nursing faculty, as this will help us to be able to accommodate more students in our program. ”

Stringer said the college typically admits 76 students in the fall and 76 in the spring, but the college plans to enroll 130 nursing students per semester for the coming academic year.

Stringer added that the college has recently begun construction of a second simulation center at the Gazvini Center for Healthcare Education, which will help the college provide hands-on training to more nursing students.

“We hope that as the number of students grows we will be able to do better so that we can take more students to the community to go to work,” Stringer said. “One of the things we know is that we are a community college, many of our students are local and they live here. So when they finish the program, they go to work here, which really helps our local employers. “

Keiser University, a private university in Florida, launched a new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program earlier this month to help address the state’s nursing deficit, especially in women’s health. In Florida and other states, to become a nurse practitioner, one must be a registered nurse, have a bachelor of science degree in nursing, and a postgraduate degree in nursing or doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP).

Robert Keiser, vice-chancellor of the university’s graduate school, said Keiser is the only MSN program in the state for women’s health.

“There is a huge need for this [more nurses], Especially in rural areas and especially with minority women who have serious health inequalities in terms of quality of care and access to care and of course costs, ”Keiser said. “This is where nurse practitioners are entering the field in many cases due to the shortage of doctors, and at the same time, doctors have a high price to pay for some services.”

The program will prepare nurses for gynecological care, pregnancy risk management, family planning, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and providing primary care to women, Keiser said.

“In South Florida, in particular, there is a real shortage of hospitals for professionals [women’s health]”There is a shortage of gynecologists and obstetricians, and many of the staff at the hospital we work for are desperate,” Keiser said. [degree]We will help meet that need. ”

Retain nursing students

Chamberlain University, a private, for-profit nursing institution with campuses in 15 states, recently received a 1.2 million grant from the American Nurses Foundation for a pilot program known as the practice-ready, specialty-focused nurse education model. Karen Cox, president of Chamberlain University, said the program not only provides the core curriculum for a BSN, but also helps students figure out which nursing specialty they are most interested in.

The university is using a 16-module online course developed by the Association of Peripheral Registered Nurses — that is, nurses who work in the operating room — and will hire a nurse employer to teach students clinical rotation.

Cox said by adding modules to give students a variety of specialized clinical experiences, students will understand what kind of nurse they want to be, which will help them stay in the job after graduation. Currently, 30 percent of new nurses exiting the BSN program leave within a year of taking their first job, he said.

“The problem with BSN education is that it prepares a general specialist, which is great,” Cox said. “It means that I, as a nurse, can work wherever I want with proper onboarding. This does not mean that I would like it, or be engaged in it, or be enthusiastic about it, because the specialties of nursing are all different. “

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