Across the nation and locally, a serious shortage of nurses and nurse educators exists. An aging baby boomer population is increasing the demand for quality health care and beginning to put a strain on our nation’s health care infrastructure. At the local level solutions are beginning to surface as an attempt is made to make a dent in the nursing shortage.
The Health Initiative Task Force – a group of people representing many organizations – will roll out a new solution in January. The group has been meeting for months to come up with a collaborative program. Current, working registered nurses from participating hospitals will work toward a masters in nursing, doctorates and Ph.D. degrees while they continue part time at their jobs. Their employers, who will pay them their full salary during the estimated two years of education and training, will select participants. During that time, each will spend a third of his/her time in school, a third at work and a third teaching. Nurses for the program will be chosen based on their clinical ability and experience, their desire to teach and their ability to do well in a rigorous work/study program.
The goal of the project is to increase the number of local-area nurse educators by eight to 10 in the next two to three years. And, if the project goes as well as expected, the task force plans to expand it so that even more nurse-students can benefit in the future. Partners in the program include Bay Regional Medical Center, Covenant HealthCare, Delta College, the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan, Kirtland Community College, Mid Michigan Community College, MidMichigan Health, Saginaw Valley State University, and St. Mary’s of Michigan.