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USG Campuses Receive Grants to Step Up Production of Nursing Grads

Atlanta — October 10, 2007

In keeping with a strategic goal to increase the number of college graduates in the health professions, the University System of Georgia (USG) has launched a Nursing Education Initiative with the distribution to 16 of its campuses of a total of $3 million in competitive grant awards from the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget. Dr. Daniel Rahn, president of the Medical College of Georgia and the University System’s senior vice chancellor for health and medical programs, briefed the USG Board of Regents Wednesday on the grants, which are intended to boost the production of registered nurses and alleviate the nursing shortage in Georgia.

Examples of how the 16 institutions receiving funding through a competitive process will address this goal include expanding the capacity of existing nursing programs, offering new, accelerated programs for registered nurses, making nursing faculty salaries more competitive and hiring additional faculty in order to teach more students.

“The USG Nursing Education Initiative’s primary goal is to increase by 50 percent the number of new registered nurses prepared in the University System by 2010,” Rahn said. “This translates to about 700 additional nurses in Georgia, bringing the total number of pre-licensure nursing graduates produced by the University System to more than 2,400 annually.”

Goal Three of the Board of Regents’ newly updated Strategic Plan – to “increase the USG’s participation in research and economic development to the benefit of a Global Georgia” – includes the objective of increasing the number of health profession graduates. The new Nursing Education Initiative is intended to build on the University System’s ongoing, highly successful “Healthcare Professionals Initiative (HPI),” which has been pumping out graduates of nursing and other healthcare-related programs through the USG’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) since 2003. By December 2008, this public-private partnership will have produced an additional 1,800 nursing graduates, to complement the System’s traditional nursing programs.

The following University System institutions have received funds from the USG Nursing Education Task Force formed by Rahn and chaired by Lucy Marion, dean of the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing and project director for the USG Nursing Education Initiative:

  • Armstrong Atlantic State University – $189,320 which, with $235,000 in support pledged by Memorial Health University Medical Center over each of the next two fiscal years, will increase the enrollment of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program by 50 percent (from 96 to 144 students). The funds will be used to hire new faculty, adjust the salaries of existing faculty, hire additional staff, purchase equipment and increase the operating budget to support the expanded enrollment. The medical center also has committed to providing clinical placement support for the added students.
  • Augusta State University – $189,320, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to expand the capacity of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program from 50 to 100 students annually, to make equity adjustments to nursing faculty salaries as a faculty recruitment and retention strategy, to create the new staff position of a retention coordinator as a student retention strategy, and to begin the process of converting the ASN program to a BSN program.
  • Coastal Georgia Community College – $164,585, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to enhance faculty recruitment and retention with the goal of increasing the number of graduates of the ASN program by at least 50 percent (from 75 to 115 students) by May 2010. CGCC’s strategy is to: 1) increase nursing faculty salaries to retain faculty and fill vacant positions; 2) add additional full-time faculty positions to increase the program’s capacity by 40 students per academic year; and 3) create a Nursing Center for Retention and Advisement to increase student retention and graduation by at least 10 percent.
  • Columbus State University – $141,043 to be used to: 1) increase nursing faculty salaries to more competitive levels; 2) admit 96 applicants to the BSN program annually (an increase of 26 students) while maintaining the current number of full-time faculty and making maximum use of the campus’ current physical facilities; and 3) increase student retention and graduation rates to produce 66 additional BSN graduates by 2010 via BSN Student Success program activities and increased admissions and enrollment.
  • Darton College – $189,320 to be used to: 1) expand current enrollment in its Accelerated Registered Nursing Track for Healthcare Professionals from 24 to 30 students; 2) provide salary increases for nursing faculty; and 3) add two part-time faculty to support Darton’s partnership with East Georgia College. Darton’s overall goal is to increase the number of graduates of its ASN program by 27 percent – from 119 to 174 graduates – over a three-year period, beginning in 2007.
  • Georgia College & State University – $167,124 to increase the capacity of the BSN program from 80 to 95 students per year and implement a student-success strategy to increase the program’s student retention and graduation rates. GCSU’s goal is to increase the number of pre-licensure BSN graduates by 31 percent.
  • Georgia Highlands College – $189,036, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to start an Accelerated Nursing Track in addition to its existing pre-licensure tracks and also to fund the implementation of a Registered Nurse Student Success Program. These two initiatives are expected to increase the retention rate from 65.8 percent to 70 percent and boost the projected number of ASN graduates by 39 students. GHC plans to admit 40 students in Spring Semester 2008 who will complete the new accelerated program in 18 months.
  • Georgia Perimeter College – $140,097, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to fund the implementation of a Registered Nurse Student Success Project, which is expected to increase the number of ASN graduates by 19 students in each of the first two years. The project will include pre-entry preparation and retention strategies, use faculty mentors to enhance nursing courses, and increase the emphasis of nursing-care applications in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology coursework.
  • Georgia Southern University – $189,320 to add several new positions to support the BSN program. Georgia Southern also is addressing student retention through a program called Successful Careers Reaching Unlimited Boundaries for Students (SCRUBS), which provides mentors and stipends for minority students and academic mentoring and intervention for students in trouble with their courses. Together, these measures will enable the university to produce 60 additional nursing graduates over the next three years.
  • Georgia State University – $189,320 to: 1) increase the number of students in the BSN program each year from 112 to 144; 2) shift more students into the Accelerated Nursing Track; 3) recruit and retain more qualified nursing faculty; and 4) develop new clinical sites, teaching partnerships and/or instructional techniques to support the increase in students.
  • Gordon College – $188,137 to add a second class of students to its ASN program each year and expand the simulation lab. To increase student retention and graduation rates, Gordon College plans to strengthen its remediation and tutorial offerings with the creation of a resource center for students and to bolster the amount of individual attention each student receives by assigning faculty mentors to see them through from freshman orientation to graduation.
  • Kennesaw State University – $189,320 to fund a partnership with Appalachian Technical College (ATC) to offer an BSN program on the ATC campus in Jasper, an area of Georgia devoid of either generic or accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs. KSU anticipates producing 30 BSN graduates initially in this underserved area of northwest Georgia, with classes expected to begin during Spring Semester 2008.
  • Medical College of Georgia – $189,320, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to expand its Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program, an accelerated, graduate-level program designed to be completed in four semesters of continuous, full-time academic study. The CNL program enrolled 14 students in Fall 2006. The minimum class size for Fall 2007 is 32 students; Fall 2008 is 40; and Fall 2009 is 48.
  • Middle Georgia College – $162,039 to be used to: 1) recruit and retain both nursing faculty and students for its ASN program; and 2) develop a course that expedites graduation for students seeking to move up the career ladder from licensed practical nurse (LPN) to registered nurse (RN).
  • North Georgia College & State University – $189,320, along with funds from a health-care partner, will be used to maintain enrollment in its ASN program at 150 students per year, which has been possible because of a two-year allocation from the University System’s Healthcare Professionals Initiative which will expire in Spring 2008. The HPI funds allowed NGCSU to hire additional instructors and staff and admit an additional 50 students per year.
  • University of West Georgia – $188,847 to be used to: 1) hire a full-time clinical faculty member with a Master’s Degree in Nursing to allow UWG to double the number of BSN graduates; 2) more effectively recruit and retain nursing faculty by making their salaries more competitive; and 3) provide academic support to students to improve graduation rates and performance on the nursing licensure examination.

For more information about the University System of Georgia’s Nursing Education Initiative, contact Project Director Lucy Marion, dean of the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing, at 706-721-3771.

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