Saginaw Valley State University is partnering with Alpena Community College to improve educational opportunities for nurses.
Saginaw Valley State University is partnering with Alpena Community College to expand nursing education opportunities and grow the number of nurses in Northern Michigan. A $2 million state grant is funding the partnership.
Under the agreement, students who complete an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) in Alpena can earn a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from SVSU's fully-accredited program.
Stacey Klump, SVSU's RN to BSN program coordinator, says SVSU already has partnerships with Delta College and Kirtland Community College. The goal is not to increase knowledge and experience.
“The goal of this grant is to increase baccalaureate nurse education across the state,” Klump says. “We know that nurses who have advanced degrees have better patient outcomes at bedside, they have more experience with research, community health, and leadership.”
The state is funding similar partnerships throughout the state to increase access to high-quality care.The specifics of the partnership are evolving, Klump says. All of SVSU’s classes are available online, so Alpena students won’t have to travel, but the grant money could go toward scholarships. The program also could involve SVSU nursing faculty visiting students in Alpena. It could involve hybrid programs.
“They can use this as they see fit,” Klump says. “What we will be doing with this is collaborating. We will be working collaboratively with their nursing faculty.”
The most likely immediate effect of the partnership will be felt at MyMichigan Medical Center in Alpena, Klump says.
“There are a lot of Associate’s Degree practicing nurses who live there, work there, and want their Bachelor’s Degree,” Klump says. “This gives them more opportunities to work out in the community, to work as nursing leaders.”
The program may not immediately benefit nurses in Bay County, but Klump says other community colleges in this area are in similar partnerships that should help local hospitals. SVSU partners with Delta College and Kirtland Community College, for example.
McLaren Bay Region backs SVSU initiatives to expanding education opportunities for nurses, says Charleen Ryan, Chief Nursing Officer and interim Vice President of Patient Care.
“At McLaren Bay Region, we fully support the growth and development of all of our nurses,” Ryan says. “We know that continuing education opens the door for even greater excellence of the care our patients expect and deserve.”
Klump says such partnerships are an important step to meeting the need for nurses.
“Enrollment is down across all universities all around the United States,” Klump says. “We’re looking at ways to increase enrollment. More importantly, as a nurse, this is something that is needed. This is a program that’s desired.”
“We enter this new partnership with Alpena Community College with great enthusiasm,” adds Marcia Ditmyer, dean of SVSU's Crystal M. Lange College of Health and Human Services.
“ACC offers an excellent associate degree nursing education and plays a vital role in preparing nurses to serve healthcare providers in northeast Michigan. Through this partnership, we can continue to improve safe, high-quality health care services for future generations.”
SVSU and ACC are among many Michigan institutions participating in this program to expand nursing education opportunities throughout the state.
'At McLaren Bay Region, we fully support the growth and development of all of our nurses. We know that continuing education opens the door for even greater excellence of the care our patients expect and deserve.'
– Charleen Ryan, Chief Nursing Officer and interim Vice President of Patient Care
Under the $56 million initiative, which is included in the fiscal year 2023 state budget, community colleges can receive funding to partner with a four-year college or university. This collaboration will include input from local employers and workforce development agencies. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will administer the grant.
Enjoy this story? Sign up
for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.