New program helps meet Michigan's demand for nurses

New program helps meet Michigan's demand for nurses

Oakland County, MI – To help meet the critical demand for nurses in MichiganOakland University and BHSH System announced a new partnership focused on increasing the number of nurses graduating from OU. Through this collaboration, BHSH System will provide Oakland University with financial resources totaling more than $20 million over the next five years for the BHSH Beaumont Health Nurse Scholar program.

This investment includes more than $10 million for student grants and more than $10 million for infrastructure investments. To accommodate the influx in students and remain in compliance with state regulations and national accreditation standards, OU will use the infrastructure funding to expand lab and classroom space, purchase instructional equipment and hire faculty to teach additional course sections. Grant recipients will be on a path to become BHSH System team members for at least two years after graduation.

"The nursing shortage in our state is a critical and complex challenge that must be solved with bold and collaborative solutions," said Tina Freese Decker, president & CEO, BHSH System (formerly Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health). "We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Oakland University and to have this amazing opportunity to invest in talented, compassionate people who want to become nurses. We are incredibly excited about the impact the BHSH Beaumont Health Nurse Scholar program will have in health care and for our communities."

"We deeply appreciate BHSH System's partnership and investment into the education of the next generation of health care providers," said Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz. "This magnanimous gift directly responds to the need for more highly skilled nurses and the workforce shortage that has become more critical since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We are proud that BHSH System and OU have a shared commitment to improve the quality and delivery of patient care in Michigan."

"This visionary investment by BHSH System strengthens the health of Michigan's residents and the health of our economy, both of which are a major focus of Oakland University's mission," Pescovitz added. 

BHSH Beaumont Health President Dr. Benjamin Schwartz said recruitment and retention of the next generation of nurses is one of his top priorities. "Students have so many choices and options about where they can work after graduation. I'm convinced that after these OU students spend some time working with us, they will want to spend their career serving our patients. We have an incredible team," he said.

OU's nursing school educates BSN Pre-Licensure students via two tracks: a Traditional BSN track and an Accelerated Second-Degree track. The university currently admits 96 students into the Traditional BSN program two times per year and 64 students into the Accelerated Second Degree (ASD) BSN program three times per year.

"OU also will add a recruitment specialist to attract diverse students and ensure the success of candidates and graduates. OU Career Services will work in collaboration with the School of Nursing to design a marketing strategy specifically geared toward the recruitment of second-degree students working across industries," added School of Nursing Dean Judy Didion.

OU's School of Nursing has approximately 770 BSN Pre-Licensure students at any time, graduating approximately 350 BSN nurses every year. The graduation rate is approximately 95% and the average NCLEX first-time pass rate during the pandemic is approximately 86%, which is above the Michigan average of 79% and on par with the national average of 87%. Prior to COVID, the OU pass rate was 91%, while the Michigan average was 89%. Overall, 94% of OU's Traditional BSN graduates report being employed in Michigan, while 88% of ASD graduates report they are employed in Michigan.

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