Friday, August 1, 2008

Niehoff School of Nursing, Hines VA Hospital Receive $3 Million Veterans Affairs Grant

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.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.