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Regents Commit $5 Million to Address Statewide Nursing Shortage

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Atlanta — April 18, 2006

University System of Georgia officials today announced a $5 million initiative that makes expanding the University System of Georgia’s production of nurses a key priority.

The allocation will fund a multi-level strategy to address the state’s severe shortage of nurses and nurse educators, admissions limitations in existing nursing programs and the lack of adequate clinical sites for nurse training. In all, 21 University System institutions will participate in the comprehensive effort, producing new graduates with associate’s, bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in nursing.

“We will accelerate the production of nurses at as many locations and in as many different ways as possible,” Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. said. “Our goal is to drive our budget allocations toward System-wide priorities and compelling needs in key policy areas. The nursing shortage represents a critical issue for the state.”

The University System currently is graduating well over 2,000 nurses per year. The newly announced initiative is expected to increase this number by more than 400 during the 2006-2007 academic year.

These new funds will be used to:

  • Enable the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) to offer its existing Doctor of Nursing Practice program as an external degree program on the campuses of eight other colleges and universities across the state, including at Albany State University, Clayton State University, Columbus State University, Emory University, Georgia Southern University, Gordon College, MCG’s School of Nursing in Athens, and at Valdosta State University;
  • Enable Georgia State University to partner with five other USG institutions to establish a statewide doctoral program (Ph.D.) in nursing. The partner institutions are Armstrong Atlantic State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Georgia State University and Valdosta State University;
  • Expand Associate of Science in Nursing programs at nine USG institutions: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Bainbridge College, Darton College, East Georgia College, North Georgia College & State University, Macon State College, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Highlands College and South Georgia College;
  • Expand accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at five USG institutions: Columbus State University, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Georgia State University, and Valdosta State University;
  • Establish an Endowed Chair of Nursing at Georgia Southern University; and
  • Create simulation labs at Valdosta State and Albany State universities that will allow nursing students to gain experience in a realistic clinical setting. Students will use life-size computerized human models that can be programmed to react physiologically to different scenarios, such as the administration of drugs, insertion of intravenous lines and respiratory distress. The labs will allow VSU and ASU to expand enrollment in their nursing programs, which are limited currently by inadequate clinical space.

This multi-pronged approach is necessary, the regents note, because the nursing shortage also is being impacted by a void in nursing faculty. Therefore, the System’s response addresses the production of new nurses and new faculty to teach in nursing programs.

The USG “Nursing Program Initiative” will build on the University System’s on-going, highly successful “Healthcare Professionals Initiative (HPI).” By December 2006, that effort will have produced more than 1,100 nursing graduates through the USG’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP), in addition to the nurses graduated by the System’s regular nursing programs.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Georgia will have a projected 48,000 registered nurses by 2020, but the agency projects there will be a demand for 80,000 registered nurses. The USG’s “Nursing Program Initiative” will help to close the resulting gap of 32,000 nurses.

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