School Of Nursing To Lead Local Collaboration Aimed At Increasing,
Diversifying Pool Of Nurses
October 9, 2003 --
Virginia is currently experiencing a 10 percent shortage
in its nursing workforce, and that figure is expected to rise to
36.4 percent by 2020, threatening access
to health care across the Commonwealth, according to figures compiled by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
University of Virginia has received a three-year, $651,153 federal
grant to fund a collaborative, two-pronged effort
aimed at deepening and diversifying
the local pool of professional nurses. The funding, from the Health and Human
Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, will go mostly
toward increasing faculty resources at both the U.Va. School of Nursing and Piedmont
Virginia Community College.
hospitals, including the U.Va. Medical Center and Martha Jefferson
Hospital in Charlottesville, the Augusta Medical Center
in Fishersville and Western State
Hospital in Staunton, will also provide resources to support the clinical training
of additional nursing students.
“This is the first time that a partnership in problem-solving for nursing
included the U.Va. Medical Center plus the regional health-care institutions
that are the consumers of nursing education,” said Judith K. Sands, associate
professor of nursing at U.Va. and project director for the grant. “It is
also the first time that all institutions have volunteered to help solve education’s
very real dilemmas in being able to serve a larger group of well-qualified students
by supporting faculty positions.”
grant seeks to increase the number of professional-level nurses
through two paths: encouraging certified nurse aides,
or CNAs, to seek additional training
through courses at PVCC, which will offer more night and weekend options; and
increasing admission to a two-year, second-degree program in U.Va.’s School
of Nursing for those who have received bachelor’s degrees in other academic
of both PVCC’s training and the U.Va. Nursing School
to sit for a licensing examination to become registered nurses.
positions are considered entry-level on this nursing career ladder.
Most CNAs have a high
school diploma and received their training either in vocational
education programs or through programs offered by some hospitals. The grant
seeks to identify the most promising CNAs in the local community,
encourage them to
enter PVCC’s nursing program, and offer them mentorship.
“There are people in the CNA pool who, for whatever reason, have potential
has not been tapped,” Sands said.
“We hope the program will help us achieve some diversity in the nursing
Amy Black, vice president and chief nursing executive at Martha Jefferson Hospital. “I’m
really excited about the career counseling aspect of it. It should help us tap
into some populations that don’t traditionally think of nursing as a career.”
program, which has traditionally required a full-time, daytime commitment, will
offer new night and weekend options to allow students to continue working
while pursuing an associate’s degree. The expansion will allow Piedmont
to graduate an additional 20 to 30 registered nurses each year, most of whom
will remain in the local community, said PVCC President Frank Friedman.
“This grant is another example of how our community benefits from the tremendous
partnership between PVCC and U.Va.,” Friedman said.
noted that minorities constitute 38 percent of CNAs, and said
she hopes that many will take advantage
of a chance to move up the career ladder. Both
locally and nationally, the number of minorities “drops off precipitously” at
the higher rungs of nursing’s professional ladder.
second thrust of the program is boosting the U.Va. School of
annual enrollment of second-degree candidates from 32 to 48. The Nursing School
admitted an additional eight such students this fall in anticipation of the new
“We at the University of Virginia School of Nursing felt an obligation
to work with our education and health-care partners to increase the number of
being prepared,” said Jeannette Lancaster, dean of the School of Nursing. “The
enthusiastic cooperation demonstrated in the development of this grant by the
Medical Center, Martha Jefferson Hospital and Piedmont Virginia Community College
was absolutely inspiring. It is a real pleasure to work with colleagues who can
come together and work hard and fast to garner funds to help meet a community
is the 13th year that the Nursing School has offered a two-year
to students who have already earned bachelor’s degrees in other fields.
Besides the expanded enrollment, the grant will allow the school to rearrange
its curriculum to make it more attractive for working students, although it will
still require a full-time commitment.
second-degree students are generally more mature than those who
enter the school as first-year students, Sands said,
and a higher percentage remain in
the community after earning their Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degrees.
the initial federal grant establishes the new programs, Sands hopes the local
hospitals will continue to sustain it.
Pamela F. Cipriano, chief clinical officer and chief nursing officer at the
U.Va. Health System, said the program is an important solution to a major problem.
“It is our goal to be leaders in addressing the nursing shortage that faces
Commonwealth of Virginia,” Cipriano said. “The U.Va. Medical Center
is proud to be a part of this effort to prepare more registered nurses for
the future. By pooling our talent and resources, we can create and model solutions
to the nursing shortage not only for the Commonwealth, but also for the nation.”
Dan Heuchert, (434) 924-7676