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Human Resources: Clinician Nurses Alleviate Faculty Bottleneck

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In another example, Brunt says Summa and two other hospitals in the region rallied behind a local university's accelerated nursing degree program that helped quadruple the size of the student body. The program, designed for people who already have a bachelor's degree, pushes students to get their BSN within 15 months. More than 500 people applied for 10 student slots, which were so few because of faculty constraints. But thanks to the clinical-faculty model, the faculty was expanded so that a total of 40 students could take the accelerated program.

"It was a way of bringing more students into the program, which from our standpoint brought in 40 more people as potential for the workforce," Brunt says.

As an added bonus, Brunt says, the relationships formed between the clinical-faculty and their students are excellent recruiting tools. "The students have had very positive evaluations about having teachers who know the hospital," she says.

Brunt says just about any hospital can implement a clinical-faculty model. "It is fairly easily done. It doesn't require a contract. It is basically the university asking the hospital, 'Do you have anyone who would be willing to help a group of students?'" Brunt says.

"The hospital serves as a medium to get the word out as well as hooking up the individuals with the university. But the university is the one who does the hiring."

One final bonus of clinical-faculty models, Brunt says, is that they can include any healthcare professionals who are in high demand. "It could be respiratory therapists or physical therapists who could be potentially used in the areas where they have difficulty finding faculty. It's not limited to nursing," she says.

John Commins

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