In response to the shortage of nurses, MetroHealth and Cleveland State University are teaming to create a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree nursing program.
Timothy Gaspar, The Dean of Nursing School at CSU, said the issue is not just that local hospitals don’t have enough nurses, but that they don't have enough nurses, capable of taking on leadership and management roles.
The Center for Health Affairs estimates another 3,500 nurses are needed in just three years.
Melissa Kline, the Chief Nursing Officer at MetroHealth said the average nursing population is aging, inching closer retirement age.
“The average nurse at MetroHealth is in their 40's,” she said.
Kline said there is a growing need to hire the next generation of nurses. Gaspar said the key is to also find “the right level of talent.”
However, the search is not easy, as hospitals are a 24/7 operation.
“Some people don't want to work the night shift or the weekends and holidays,” said Kline, “It does involve some sacrifices.”
Despite the sacrifices, she said the career is rewarding.
“You get to help people every day you save lives,” said Kline, “You see people sometimes the lowest points of their lives, and you're that one constant guiding person to help them through that.”
Gaspar said he's talked to a number of his nursing students, and he believes opportunities within higher education are the key to ensuring better nursing talent.
“Interaction is part of what those nurses were asking for, and that's why we are now using the blended approach,” he said.
According to Kline, the first year of the program will be weekly classes. Then, on the second year, the students will gradually transition into group work and an online format.
CSU and MetroHealth hope to enroll 30 nurses in their bachelor's program and another 30 for their master's program.
They may also expand to other health systems in the region.