From left, Dr. David Roland Finley, president of North Central Michigan College; state Rep. John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs; and state Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, speak at a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Damoose and Roth announced a plan to allow community colleges to offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.
New funding follows Damoose’s efforts to utilize community colleges
State Rep. John Damoose today praised a critical component of Michigan’s education budget, signed into law today, to strengthen the state’s health care workforce by helping nursing students and current nurses obtain bachelor’s degrees.
Damoose, R-Harbor Springs, said new funding to support nursing partnerships between community colleges and four-year institutions will help more Michigan nurses obtain the education they need locally. Damoose has led bipartisan efforts to empower community colleges to expand their nursing programs and help health care facilities fill staff shortages.
“As they meet the medical needs of Michigan patients, health care providers are facing their own desperate need for more staff,” Damoose said. “Nurses with four-year degrees are especially in high demand, and our new plan will help more nurses earn bachelor’s degrees — by keeping things close to home.
“Innovative cooperation between our Michigan community colleges and four-year schools will train new health care professionals and enable nurses who already have associate degrees to expand their expertise and provide more care. Accessible, affordable education will teach more nurses and help meet the needs of hospitals, clinics, and the people they serve.”
A $56 million appropriation will provide grants to community colleges to help students with an Associate Degree in Nursing obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The program will offer at least $2 million for each community college to partner with a state university or an independent nonprofit college or university.
To obtain funding, the community college and four-year institution must sign an agreement outlining a plan for the combined BSN completion program, including provisions for admissions, curriculum, accreditation, branding and promotion, student supports, and other considerations. The partnership agreements, which will last for at least five years, will also provide for at least part of the BSN instruction to be offered in person at community college campuses.
Funding may support personnel, facilities, outreach efforts, and financial aid associated with a BSN partnership. Resources may also be used to assess the success of the program.
Under the grant program, partnerships will be required to solicit input from local health care providers.
Damoose and state Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, last year led a bipartisan coalition of legislators introducing a proposal to authorize Michigan’s community colleges to offer BSNs, an effort Damoose said helped spur discussions and paved the way to the new partnership program.
“Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula need more nurses,” Damoose said. “It is my privilege to work with health care providers and community college officials to find new solutions to educate nurses in our region.”
The nursing education initiative is contained in Senate Bill 845, which provides the new school aid and higher education budget and today became law. Damoose and the Legislature approved the plan, along with a general budget for state government, earlier this month.
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