SIU and ISH Expand Partnership to Address Nursing Shortage
June 21, 2022
SIU and ISH Expand Partnership to Address Nursing Shortage
CARBONDALE, Ill. – If you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree or accumulated a significant amount of hours toward a degree and have already considered a career in nursing, you’ll want to check out a new Southern Illinois University Carbondale program that allows applicants qualified to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in approximately one year on a fully-funded scholarship.
The ongoing partnership between SIU and Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) to address the nursing shortage has reached a new level with the announcement that SIH is creating a scholarship program for SIU’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.
SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane said the agreement that formalizes the scholarship program correlates well with the SIU’s Imagine 2030 strategic plan, and in particular the pillars that focus on improving student success. students and strengthening partnerships.
“As two anchor institutions in the Southern Illinois region, SIU Carbondale and SIH have a responsibility to meet the needs of our community,” he said. “I am grateful to SIH for their support and thrilled that our university is providing even more opportunities for our students while benefiting the people who live in our own backyard.”
There has been a severe shortage of qualified nurses not just in southern Illinois, but across the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for the past two years, according to Rex Budde, president and chief of the management of the SIH.
“Our partnership with the SIU on the issue of nursing is a perfect example of meaningful and effective collaboration,” said Budde. “It helps students find a path to great work and a wonderful career, and it boosts enrollment at SIU. And at the same time, it helps us because it expands the pool of qualified nurses that we can draw from. As two of the largest employers in the region, it is great fun to partner in this co-operative and collaborative way, working together to meet needs.
Eligibility for full scholarships
Individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field or at least 70 hours toward a bachelor’s degree, including specific prerequisite courses, can qualify for this program and complete their BSN in just one year. Officials especially encourage students with a background in chemistry, biology, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry or other health sciences to apply.
Kelli Whittingtonassistant professor at the SIU and director of the nursing program at the School of Health Sciences, said it’s common for people to consider changing careers to help others after experiencing a personal or family health issue. Or they may consider a career change when they discover opportunities in the health care field. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2021 median annual salary for a registered nurse is $77,600.
Budde said the scholarships ease the financial pressure on students.
“It’s important to have options,” Budde said. “Sometimes people finish their undergraduate studies and later decide they want to go in a different direction. It gives them a second chance to use what they have already learned in a different way.
Likewise, students will sometimes start a career in a health-focused field and then move on to another field, such as nursing, where they find a better fit, officials said.
SIH is open to offering as many scholarships as there are qualified applicants, according to SIH Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre. She said scholarship funding will vary as it will be tailored to the student’s individual needs. The student will then agree to work at an HIS institution for a period of time proportional to the amount of funding received.
For details on new scholarships and to submit an application, email Whittington at email@example.com.
How acute is the need?
“The shortage of nurses is significant,” Harre said. “It’s been very critical for our organization because we’ve had to fill a lot of vacancies with higher contract employees, and it’s just not sustainable. Even then, we sometimes had to close beds because we didn’t have the staff to cover all the beds, meaning patients have to travel outside the region for treatment. We don’t want them to have to.
She said the need for nurses will continue.
“By working closely with SIU, we can grow our workforce and provide students with a career path and guaranteed employment,” Harre said.
The fellowship program advances the collaboration that has existed for some time between the SIU and the SIH. The SIU has begun its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2019, thanks in part to a $1 million pledge from HIS. When fully operational, officials expect the SIU nursing program to train approximately 300 students over a four-year period.
SIU’s nursing program offers three tracks: the traditional four-year bachelor’s degree program, the RN to BSN graduation program, and the accelerated BSN program.
The accelerated program is rigorous
The accelerated program is concentrated, essentially covering advanced skills typically taught over a three-year period in just one year, officials said.
“Students in this program generally have a track record of life and academic achievement. It is a very challenging and intense program, designed to produce high quality nurses,” said Whittington. “We so appreciate the continued leadership of SIH and the support of SIU and our students.”
Harre and Budde said the SIH is also grateful to the SIU for its leadership and efforts to help resolve the issue. Harre said Whittington and the rest of the faculty and staff were great and the SIH was happy to provide the scholarships and other support.
“We try to help people access health care because they want to help people,” Harre said. “Nursing is a challenging but rewarding career. We want people who want to do it not just for the money, but because they care about the people. With this program, we tell them that if you can do it for a year, we will support you for that year. You can go to school and get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing in just one year, and then when you graduate, we want you to come work for us. It’s a win-win for them, SIU, SIH and the community.
Launch of two more health care programs at the SIU
The university is also addressing other healthcare needs in the region and beyond with the addition of doctoral programs for occupational therapy and physical therapy. No other public university doctoral programs in occupational therapy or physical therapy are available within a seven-hour drive of the SIU.
The occupational therapy program will launch this fall, while the physical therapy program is expected to begin upon receiving approvals from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and hiring faculty for the program. SIH pledged up to $470,000 for the two graduate programs and helped expand the program. SIU students will receive their clinical training at various institutions, including SIH facilities.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for physiotherapists from 2020 to 2030 is 21%, far higher than for most careers, with a median annual salary of $95,620 in 2021. job outlook for occupational therapists is similar, with a projected growth of 17% in the decade ending in 2030 and a median annual salary of $85,570 in 2021.
The programs are designed for students who are currently certified occupational therapist assistants, physical therapist assistants, or other paramedical assistants, as well as qualified candidates for general admission. The program will be offered as a hybrid three-year on-site program.
For more information on these programs, visit sah.siu.edu or contact the School of Health Sciences at 618-453-7211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.