By Debra Wood, RN, contributor
With Detroit automobile manufacturers planning tens of
thousands of layoffs, area hospitals and colleges have teamed up to offer
displaced autoworkers opportunities to retrain as nurses.
“This is one of our many ways of addressing a nursing shortage
that we are experiencing in southeast Michigan,” said Jeraldine Jackson, RN,
MSN, MDiv, administrator for nursing development and research at Henry Ford
Health System in Detroit, which has partnered with Oakland University, in
Rochester, to offer two year-round bachelor of science in nursing tracks: a
one-year program for people with an existing four-year science-related degree
and a three-year program for students with little or no prior college education.
By 2015, the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth
estimates the state will need an additional 18,000 nurses.
“The automotive industry is moving in the other direction and
it is our goal to help Michigan workers thrive in this economy,” said Jill M.
Vondrasek, spokesperson for the Michigan State University (MSU) College of
Nursing, which has teamed up with four hospitals to offer displaced autoworkers
an accelerated BSN program.
“By targeting this population, we do two things,” said Linda
Kruso, director of workforce planning for Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak,
Michigan, one of the participating hospitals. “We help individuals who need to
train and take a different path, and we increase nurses in the pipeline.”
Michigan’s Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Funds, a
program designed to train more high-quality health care workers at an
accelerated pace, provided funding for MSU to develop the accelerated BSN
curriculum. Participating hospitals include Ingham Regional Medical Center in
Lansing, Oakwood Healthcare System and Sparrow Health System in Lansing.
More than 250 people attended an educational seminar at
Beaumont this winter, with many of the participants being men. About 50
displaced autoworkers have attended informational sessions at Henry Ford.
Henry Ford originally had limited the program to Ford Motor
Co. employees but has expanded it to include displaced workers at General Motors
Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG.
Employee buyout packages should cover tuition. Henry Ford also
offers tuition funding for a three-year employment commitment.
The Oakland College/Henry Ford program will admit its first
students in the fall, with students completing their practicums at one of three
Henry Ford hospitals: Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Henry Ford Wyandotte
Hospital in Wyandotte or Henry Ford Bi-County Hospital in Warren. The health
system will hire new graduates who pass the NCLEX licensure exam.
MSU will admit 48 students in May. Sixteen will complete their
clinical rotations at Beaumont, under the supervision of a clinical nurse
specialist and staff nurse preceptors.
“This is a creative way to help increase the supply of nurses
in the community,” Kruso said. “It’s great we can help people who have need of a
career change to take advantage of the opportunity to become a nurse.”
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