Sutter Roseville Provides Grants, Instructors to Nurse Training Programs
Sutter Roseville Medical Center on Tuesday announced a $750,000 donation to Sierra College to expand an online associate nursing degree program to include 20 more students annually for two years starting in 2006 -- "the latest gift to the state's schools from private hospitals desperate to fix a severe nursing shortage," the Sacramento Bee reports.
Hospitals statewide have spent millions of dollars over the past five years to help community colleges and universities increase nursing program enrollment by an estimated 10% to 20%, according to the Bee. Sutter Roseville's donation is in addition to more than $15 million Sutter Health has pledged to Sacramento City College for its nursing programs.
Barbara Nelson, chief nursing executive at Sutter Roseville, said, "We all felt like this was something we needed to do if we were going to have any hope of hiring enough nurses to fill all our vacancies."
In 2003, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Healthcare West and University of California-Davis Medical Center gave a combined $3 million to American River College for tuition-free nurse training.
According to the Bee, the donations and grants from health systems in California -- which has fewer nurses per capita than most states -- and nationwide to help address the nursing shortage "are starting to pay off." However, state records indicate that California will need an additional 25,000 nurses by 2006, and that figure does not account for additional demand created by state nurse-patient ratio rules that could require thousands of additional nurses, according to the Bee.
Deloras Jones, executive director of the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare, said, "The state owes just about every new seat in every new classroom to private donations."
Susan Brank, assistant executive director for the state's Board of Registered Nursing, said, "Contributions to colleges from the private sector, hospitals and foundations have helped us somewhat ease the bottleneck in our nursing programs."
However, Joanne Spetz, a professor with the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of California-San Francisco, said that despite the donations, "every single nurse administrator I speak to says they cannot find enough nurses." She added, "When demand outstrips supply, there is no single, simple fix" (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
In related news, City College of San Francisco will use a $4.2 million grant to start night classes for its nursing program and hire instructors from Sutter-owned California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital. The grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will expand the size of the program from 48 students to 80.
The hospitals also will use the grant to help place the 96 CCSF nurses expected to graduate by 2009 in "hard-to-find" places for pediatric, obstetric and other clinical rotations, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Stanley, San Francisco Examiner, 11/16).