While national news reminds us on a near-daily basis about the talent shortage facing many industries, two of Michigan's most prominent institutions announced a new locally created model others might want to notice.
Grand Rapids leaders from the BHSH System
(formerly Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health) and Grand Valley State University
have announced an innovative partnership to address the nursing shortage.
This new program, the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program, seeks to fill the nursing pipeline with an education scholarship program built in partnership with a more than $19 million investment. These critically essential funds will provide funding for the infrastructure, startup costs and resources needed for increased clinical placements, training and other support for students within this program.
A portion of these funds is allocated from grant dollars for the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholars.
In addition, Grand Valley State University, according to their press notice, "will increase infrastructure support for students in the areas of financial aid, curriculum enhancements, technology and equipment, student support services, simulation enhancements, and clinical experiences."
The best part is that this new BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar partnership extends a much-needed opportunity for nearly 500 additional students to seek a career in nursing over the next six years.
When we look at this within the historical context of the retention statistics of a Grand Valley State University graduate, a whopping 92% of the University's grads within the health professions choose to stay and build their careers in Michigan.
A federal workforce analysis has indicated that Michigan was already experiencing a nursing shortage before the arrival of COVID-19 in Michigan in March 2020. Despite the negative aspects of a talent shortage felt in almost every sector of society, area leaders within the BHSH System and GVSU firmly believe the statistic of behaviors are on their side as this program will ensure a more robust talent pipeline.
The BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar, designed in Michigan, should be a beacon of hope for other regional sectors from our enterprises, universities, communities and governments — all facing talent shortages around our state.
"We challenged ourselves to be bold — what can we do, together with GVSU, to permanently increase access to education, strengthen nursing education programs and invest in talented, compassionate people who want to become nurses?" says Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System. "Our teams delivered a joint, innovative proposal that expands opportunities for up to 500 future nurses and can be the model for others to emulate. We are incredibly excited about the Nurse Scholar Program and the impact in health care for individual learners and future generations."
Grand Valley President Philomena V. Mantella has continually shown since arriving in West Michigan how quickly she is willing to address issues head-on ... and always with a level of creativity that turns heads around our state.
"These talent gaps hold us back or put us at risk," says Mantella. "We have many dedicated and talented students who want to pursue nursing, but we needed the creativity and support of our partners at BHSH System to make the expansion of nursing possible and affordable for more talented and diverse students. This program is a huge leap forward and a model for other high need fields. I applaud the ingenuity and willingness of our teams to bring it to fruition."
In keeping with our region's desire to innovate faster, this new BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program, which begins January 2023, is sure to be a game-changer — not just in alleviating our talent pipeline issues but also in how folks view our river city's creative approach to the evolution of our region and state.
The future (still) needs all of us.
Tommy Allen, Publisher