Southeast Georgia Health System has embarked on a $2 million expansion partnership with the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA) to increase the number of registered nurses in the community through a process of five years.
“The success of this partnership will benefit each organization individually, but more importantly, patients and students will see immediate benefits through a better patient care experience and more options as a student aspiring to become a nurse. “said Kay Hampton, RN, MSN, president, Southeast Georgia Health System, Inc.
“With a nursing shortage flooding our country, including here in our own community, it is imperative to make nursing programs a priority and more easily accessible to eligible students,” added Scott Raynes, MBA, MA, President and CEO, Southeast Georgia Health System. . “This partnership will strengthen the College of Coastal Georgia’s ability to enroll more students. Today, the upper limit that can be enrolled is 260 students. This partnership will help add faculty and increase enrollment to 340 students.
The increased number of faculty members will also allow for the addition of a spring cohort to the Associate of Nursing program. Currently, the nursing program graduates students once a year in May; the addition of a spring cohort will produce December graduates, allowing students two annual entry points into the program and also allowing the healthcare system to have residency programs twice a year to integrate new graduates who choose to join the healthcare system after graduation.
“I can’t think of a better win-win-win partnership for our community at this particular time,” said College of Coastal Georgia President Michelle Johnston. “We are proud to establish a model that has the potential to accelerate near-term and future progress in the health workforce.
One of the many challenges of sending nurses to the front lines is the length of the training process. Historically, CCGA nursing students do not take classes during the summer semester, which adds additional time between entry into the nursing program and graduation. For students interested in joining the workforce several months earlier, the CCGA will offer an accelerated RN program that requires students to complete four consecutive semesters to graduate a full semester ahead of students in the traditional program.
Although the growth of the program is a top priority, the fruits of this partnership have a great impact on the success of the students. The CCGA will establish a Student Success Advisor position that will be dedicated to tutoring, coaching and providing additional education to nursing students. Johnston explained, “Our nursing programs are challenging and our standards are high. That’s why we’ve been recognized as one of the best programs in the country. The Academic Success Advisor will play a key role in maintaining academic excellence while supporting progress toward graduation. Providing this support will help students achieve greater success throughout their academic journey and enable them to achieve their career goals after graduation.
New University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue added, “As I step into this role, I am grateful to the leadership of the College of Coastal Georgia and SGHS for setting a standard and model within the state. . This partnership is an excellent example of the university system’s strategic goals of community impact and economic competitiveness.
“We are thrilled to partner with the College of Coastal Georgia, not only for the advancement of our own organizations, but primarily for the opportunity to come together and revolutionize the ways in which we serve our communities,” Raynes said. “This partnership is the first step in the health system’s long-term planning to help address medical workforce challenges in our community.