BHSH, Grand Valley in new effort to tackle nursing shortage

GRAND RAPIDS–BHSH System–the new name for the merged Beaumont and Spectrum health systems–and Grand Valley State University have established a new partnership to address the national shortage of registered nurses, the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program.

Officials with the institutions said the partnership will increase the nursing talent pipeline by taking away financial barriers to college and smoothing the educational path to employment at BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan.

The health system is investing more than $19 million to provide infrastructure and start-up costs and resources for increased clinical placements, training and other support for students in the program. This includes grant dollars for all BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholars. Grand Valley 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.

A federal workforce analysis shows Michigan currently has a nursing shortage for its population, and that shortage has been exacerbated by the burnout and stress caused by the pandemic. Leaders at BHSH System and GVSU said this solution they’ve designed will create a stronger talent pipeline, and the partnership can serve as a model to universities, communities and government to solve the nation’s talent shortages.

“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?” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System.

GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said the agreement is an example of how educational institutions and enterprises can partner quickly to address talent shortages.

“These talent gaps hold us back or put us at risk,” said 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.”

After all approvals and accreditation, the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program will be in place by January 2023.

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