Mission Health announces financial support for local nursing programs

Press release from Mission Health:

Mission Health is pleased to announce that we will be funding an instructor position at three of our local nursing schools. Starting with the upcoming fall semester, Mission Health will pay for a full-time faculty member at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College; Blue Ridge Community College and Western Carolina University. This investment in the western North Carolina community will allow these institutions of higher learning to expand their acceptance of qualified students.

“As we face the many challenges in healthcare staffing, we are looking for creative solutions to strengthen the partnership with our local schools. Funding a role at each of these schools is one of the steps we are taking to help relieve the nursing shortage and help qualified applicants to attend our local schools,” said Fran Paschall, Chief Nurse Executive.

It is a requirement that for every 10 students there be one instructor, so these new positions will allow for 30 additional students to enroll in nursing programs at these area colleges and the university.

“We’re very pleased to continue the growth of our long-term relationship with Mission Health.  Their investment in our Nursing Program will result in an increased number of nursing students in the program, and the eventual graduation of more top-notch nursing graduates, many of whom will obtain employment in the WNC region,” said Jon Wiener, AB Tech Dean of Allied Health.

According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing report on 2019-2020 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 80,407 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs due to insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints. Almost two-thirds of the nursing schools responding to the survey pointed to a shortage of faculty and/or clinical preceptors as a reason for not accepting all qualified applicants into their programs.

“At Blue Ridge Community College, we are committed to supporting the healthcare workforce in Western North Carolina with exceptionally educated, well-trained healthcare professionals. This academic partnership allows us to expand our reach, ultimately increasing the number of nurses ready to serve our community members and healthcare partners,” said Dr. Laura Leatherwood, President of Blue Ridge Community College

The AACN also reported a declining number of educators to train nursing students. The vacancy rate nationwide for faculty positions increased from 6.5% in 2020 to 8% in 2021.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to work with a clinical partner to impact health care in the region,” said Lori Anderson, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at WCU. “It’s going to take all of us working together to overcome the area’s critical nursing shortage, and Western Carolina University, as the region’s public comprehensive university, is glad to work with Mission Health and with other clinical partners to expand the pool of highly qualified nurses available to work and stay in Western North Carolina.”

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