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Sutter Center for Health Professions Doubles Number of Nursing Graduates

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region | 0 comments

Partnership With Los Rios Community College District Makes Significant Impact

Sacramento, Calif. – The Sutter Center for Health Professions (SCHP) celebrates its 10th anniversary this month with the graduation of its 14th class of nursing students. Since its inception, the nursing program has graduated 563 nurses, helping to mitigate the Sacramento region’s nursing shortage and create employment opportunities in a struggling economy.

In response to an anticipated nursing shortage expected to last through 2016, the Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region began an innovative partnership with Los Rios Community College District to create the Sutter Center for Health Professions in 2003. “Local nursing programs simply did not have the bandwidth to graduate enough nurses to address the shortage,” says Monica Small, R.N., MSN, director of Clinical Workforce Development and Sutter Center for Health Professions. “Our goal was to double to the number of nursing program graduates, and we are proud to say we have met that goal.”

The program also improves access for individuals interested in a health care career. Before launching the program, there was widespread belief among health care administrators that nursing was no longer a desired career. To determine whether this belief was accurate, Sutter surveyed hundreds of non-nurse employees to gauge interest in pursuing a career in nursing. The results overwhelmingly confirmed high interest in nursing, but cited long waiting lists to get into local nursing programs and cost of obtaining a degree as barriers to pursuing a nursing career.

“Because of dwindling fiscal support, publicly funded colleges face significant constraints to the number of students they can accept. It is critical that health care providers consider ways that they can help local colleges’ efforts to educate our future nurses since they comprise the largest portion of any health care organization’s patient care providers,” says Small. “This program serves as a model public and private partnership that has enabled Los Rios to extend their nursing program at Sacramento City College and bolster our community’s health care workforce.”

The rigorous 18-month accelerated nursing program, along with other grants and community funding initiatives, has made a noticeable impact. When the program began, the nurse vacancy rate at hospitals in the greater Sacramento region was 20 percent. Within a few years, the vacancy rate dropped into single digits. While the sluggish economy impacted employment opportunities across the board around 2009, health care jobs are rebounding.

The Sutter Center for Health Professions uses the same application process and selection criteria as the Sacramento City College main campus program. Students attend class at the center’s headquarters at 2700 Gateway Oaks Dr., in Sacramento and perform clinical training in Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region hospitals and physician offices. Students earn an Associate of Arts degree upon completion of the program.

“I am so proud of our Sutter leadership for having the vision to create this program 10 years ago. There are so many demands on health care providers, but we knew it was a priority to invest in educating the largest segment of the health care team,” adds Small.

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Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region | 0 comments