Program at Ventura County Hospital Provides Nurse Training for Employees
St. John's two hospitals in Ventura County -- Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo -- have started a program that allows some hospital employees to take nursing classes at Moorpark College at no cost, the Ventura County Star reports. For the program, called Partners in Caring, St. John's is contracting with the college to provide a 15-month accelerated associate's degree in nursing for hospital employees. Currently, 16 employees are enrolled in the nursing program, with classes scheduled to begin in June. Students accepted into the program have taken all necessary prerequisites and have met the requirements of Moorpark's nursing program, the Star reports. Moorpark receives no state funds for the program because it is considered contract education; St. John's pays for instructors, tuition, books, uniforms and other costs. The program is expected to cost St. John's more than $200,000, but St. John's officials say that it is "well worth the investment" because the program will train more registered nurses at a time when there is a state shortage and many hospitals must increase staffing to comply with new nurse-to-patient ratios, the Star reports. According to HHS, California will have a shortage of 120,695 nurses, or 46% of the total needed, by 2020.
"We're trying to be really visionary and proactive," Laurie Bigham, chief nurse for St. John's, said, adding, "It's a win-win-win: a win for patients, a win for employees, a win for the college and the community." According to the Star, demand for nursing classes at the college has created a waiting list, and the school cannot afford to expand its nursing program. However, Eva Conrad, president of Moorpark College, said that Partners in Caring is "an innovative answer to that problem." Bigham said that she believes the program will be successful and "will be done on an annual basis," adding, "We would start a second program next year, so it would be perpetuated" (Klampe, Ventura County Star, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.