Students are beginning to voice their frustration with the “faceless bureaucracies” of community colleges as they navigate their supposed potential for a viable career prospect. However, support from 4-year institutions and legislation to tackle the nation’s nursing shortage may help reap benefits for the healthcare workforce and students alike.
States across the country are ringing the alarm on their current and forecasted nursing shortages. Ohio features Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the list of its top 10 most critical jobs. Arizona is among the top five states with the worst medical staffing shortages. Moreover, the nursing shortage in New York is projected to hit 40,000 by 2030 and 60,000 by 2035 in Florida.
As a result, state legislatures and medical centers are now leaning on strategic partnerships between universities and community colleges to pump out skilled, accredited nurses and bridge the gap.
Here are recent nursing programs leveraging the support of medical centers, school partnerships and state legislation to attract a new cohort of students.
State legislation and funding
- Maricopa County Community College District (Ariz.): The passage of Arizona’s House Bill 2691 last year appropriated “$42.5 million a year starting in fiscal year 2023 through fiscal year 2025 to the Department of Health Services and is divided between nurse education, nurse clinical rotations, licensed nurse training, and a preceptor grant program,” according to AZ Big Media. The Nurse Education Investment Pilot Program has allowed Maricopa to hire 26 new faculty and support staff, innovative retention and student support and obtain additional supplies and lab equipment. By 2026, AZ Central predicts Maricopa’s system will produce 5,464 nursing graduates at all levels.
- Tallahassee Community College (Fla.): In January, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $79 million in PIPELINE and LINE Fund awards to high-performing nursing education programs at public institutions in Florida, according to Florida Daily. The $1 million allotted to Tallahassee Community College has allowed the school to hire 10 additional faculty so far.
Accelerated Nursing Programs
- Kirtland Community College (Mich.): Kirtland students pursuing an associate degree in nursing will also be concurrently earning a bachelor’s in nursing from Saginaw Valley State University.
- Washington State Community College (Ohio): Thanks to the passing of Senate Bill 135, Washington State will now be able to achieve a BSN directly from the community college, satisfying students who are interested in a program that is “local, flexible, and affordable,” according to WTAP. Associate degree earners from Washington State have long been a nursing pipeline for the Marietta region’s Memorial Health System and WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center.
- Hawkeye Community College (Iowa): Hawkeye and Upper Iowa University have partnered to allow students to pursue a BSN before graduating from Hawkeye. This pipeline will allow Hawkeye students to complete their BSN degree from UIU in approximately eight months or less post-graduation, according to River Cities’ Reader.
Medical Center Partnerships
- Berkshire Community College (Mass.): Berkshire has created the Career Pathways Talent Pipeline with Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) to help cover tuition and fees for enrolled students. Career Pathways will also provide health insurance and pay students working only 8 or 16 hours a week the equivalent of a 40-hour work week, according to iBerkshires.
- Hutchinson Community College (Kan.): Hutchinson Regional Medical Center will be providing offering its staff and facility to Hutchinson Community College to expand the school’s available clinical hours to students, according to The Hutchinson News.