Funds to be used to expand faculty and student body to address U.S. nursing shortage
MAYWOOD, IL -- Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital have teamed up to help ease the critical shortage of nurses within the VA system and the Chicago area. The VA has awarded a $3 million Enhancing Academic Partnerships grant to Hines and Niehoff that will enable the school, which offers top-rated nursing, dietetics and health systems management programs, to hire additional faculty and increase student enrollment.
"This is quite an accomplishment and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing is excited to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help address this serious problem afflicting our health-care system," said Mary Klotz Walker, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, Dean of Niehoff School of Nursing. "The expanded role of VA in the education of nurses will ensure the Department has the nurses needed to continue our world-class health care for veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "The VA Nursing Academy expands our teaching faculty, improves recruitment and retention and creates new educational and research opportunities." The Hines/Niehoff partnership is one of 10 collaborations currently funded by the VA throughout the United States. The grant will allow: * The expansion of Niehoff's bachelor's degree program by matriculating into junior level classes transfer students who have associate's degrees in other fields or 60 credit hours from a four-year college or university. * The opportunity for qualified Hines nursing staff to instruct Niehoff students in the Hines clinical environment. Close to 80 Niehoff students will receive clinical training at Hines this fall. * The creation of a joint Hines/Niehoff Nursing Center for Integrated Mental Health Care. The purpose of the center will be to support educational, practice and research activities related to better integrating mental health concepts into the primary, acute and long-term nursing care of patients. * Enhancement of Hines recruitment/retention program of new baccalaureate graduates by implementing a nurse residency program, expanding the VA Learning Opportunities Residency Program for nursing students and using local and VA funding to meet the educational debt reduction and/or continuing education needs of graduates. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has reported that in 2006 more than 38,000 qualified applicants were turned away from entry-level baccalaureate degree programs in nursing schools because of insufficient numbers of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and clinical mentors. VA currently provides clinical education for approximately 100,000 health professional trainees annually, including students from more than 600 schools of nursing.