Southeastern Community College nursing students are among the first to benefit from the college’s new partnership with Great River Health and the expansion of the nursing program this semester at the West Burlington and Keokuk campuses.
In March, Great River Health announced that it would provide SCC with a $10 million grant from the Great River Health Foundation over the next five years to help SCC hire more science teachers. nurses, improve resources for recruiting nursing students, provide more support to students. , helping students pay for their tuition, and ultimately helping to establish a pipeline of future nurses and healthcare workers in Burlington and the southeastern Iowa area.
CSC President Michael Ash told The Hawk Eye that recent nursing shortages were a driving factor in Great River Health’s investment in the nursing program.
According to Great River Health, labor market data indicates that 300 or more nursing positions open each year within a 50-mile radius of the Burlington area with median salaries near $63,000.
This week, SCC revealed more details about the partnership.
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Enrollment for nursing students this summer was 101 practical nursing students and 81 nursing students.
With the hiring of new nursing-related faculty, CSC aims to double its nursing program staff from its current limit of 216 students to a total of 432 by the 2025-2026 school year, according to the report. of CSC.
The tuition assistance portion of the partnership allows Iowa residents studying in the PN program to receive up to $2,500 in direct payment grants. Non-residents can receive up to $3,000.
For students in the ADN program, Iowa residents can receive up to $4,000, while nonresidents can receive up to $6,000.
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The scholarships will be divided equally between the fall and spring semesters. Students must pass certain courses and maintain satisfactory academic progress during the first eight weeks of the semester to qualify. Eligible students who meet these criteria should receive their first check from Great River Health at midterm.
The grant does not include repayment or employment conditions.
The differences in scholarship amounts are designed to help nonresident students who are not eligible for scholarships available exclusively to Iowa students, including the Last-Dollar Scholarship, a state program announced in June that covers tuition for Iowa residents preparing to enter high-demand professions, including nursing, after applying for federal and state grants and scholarships.
“Our out-of-state students have to pay more to attend CSC than their Iowa peers, and so this is an attempt to level the playing field a bit,” Ash said. in a press release.
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Other features of the partnership include dedicated student success advocates to help students navigate the college process, tutoring and other academic supports for nursing students, and part-time employment opportunities for students at the Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center in West Burlington.
In addition, all DNA grant recipients will be guaranteed a job interview with the Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center or its affiliates upon completion of their nursing program.
The increase in staffing is expected to be a gradual process as the college strives to add new nursing sections over the next two years.
CSC’s nursing program is currently fully staffed, and the college has been able to hire an associate dean of nursing, a health professions recruiter, a simulation lab technician, a first-class nursing instructor. year and two advocates for student success in health programs, according to Jeff Ebbing, director of marketing and communications for SCC.
Student Success Advocates will be available at both campuses, and one will be available at high schools to work directly with these students.
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Expanded nursing preparation programs for high school students also began this fall.
Morning nursing prep classes for high school students will be held this fall and spring at the West Burlington campus and are scheduled to begin at the Keokuk campus next fall.
High school students can also take CNA, Medical Terminology, Intro to Sociology, Intro to Psychology, and Composition I courses as part of concurrent enrollment courses offered for free at many schools. schools in the region in partnership with SCC.
Organizers of the CSC-Great River Health partnership believe the support provided will lead to successful nursing programs for many students.
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“We want to help relieve the pressure so they can focus more on their studies and succeed,” Jason Hutcheson, executive director of the Great River Health Foundation, said in a statement. “We hope those dollars will mean they won’t have to work as many hours or cover living expenses, like childcare or transportation.
“It’s part of the bigger picture,” said Maureen Ewinger, associate dean of nursing at CSC. “Helping them focus on getting a high-quality education will prepare them for well-paying jobs and strengthen our health care system and our communities.”
Brad Vidmar covers public safety and education for The Hawk Eye and can be reached by email at BVidmar@gannett.com.