9/15/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) was awarded $199,325 in renewal grant funding from the Ohio Board of Nursing’s Nurse Education Grant Program (NEGP). This two-year grant funding makes possible Ashland University’s Accent on the Individual: Increasing Student Enrollment and Faculty/Instruction Personnel through Academic/Health Care System Partnerships.
According to Dr. Faye Grund, dean of the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences, this project expands on the previous NEGP grant project to increase baccalaureate professional nurses and promote graduate nursing education. NEGP 2015-17 grant program partnerships with Marion Technical College and Stark State College will continue through 2019, in addition to new grant partnerships with North Central State College and Avita Health System.
“Goal one of the project is to increase Ashland University’s RN to BSN program enrollment capacity by 50 students in 2019,” Grund said. “Associate degree students at partnering institutions will have the opportunity to dually enroll at their institution and Ashland’s CONHS to streamline their pathway from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree.”
Dr. Jody Hostetler, RN to BSN faculty member and faculty lead on the grant, said the project is designed to provide a seamless progression for nurses seeking to complete a baccalaureate degree.
“This model promotes adult student success by offering courses in a more manageable and supportive 16-week hybrid delivery method on the grant partner campuses,” she added. “Avita Health System nurses will receive support for those new to online learning including a hybrid delivery of the seven-week courses in the 16-week semester, both face-to-face and online at the Avita Health System campuses.”
The second project goal increases graduate nursing programs enrollment capacity by 40 students in 2019. Grund said this increase of Ohio nursing students will be accomplished through the expansion of recruiting resources, student advising and education models for graduate candidates at partnering institutions.
Grund said AU is working to create multiple graduate pathways for nursing students. Through the project work of the 2015-17 NEGP grant project, the CONHS received approval to begin the DNP Health Systems Leadership track in the fall of 2017. The Nurse Educator Certificate program for the fall of 2017 will expand nurses’ content expertise regarding curriculum development and educational theory preparing them for roles in the classroom, laboratory, clinical and online learning environments.
Kathy Durflinger, vice president and chief nursing officer for Avita Health System, said Avita Health System is very excited to partner and participate in the RN to BSN Grant Program with Ashland University.
“As an organization, we are committed to staff development and ongoing professional education. In our efforts to meet the state and national goal that all registered nurses achieve their BSN by the year 2020, this grant opportunity is a practical way to offer the BSN courses onsite at the Avita Health System facilities,” Durflinger said. “Avita nurses will not have to travel to the college campus but instead can attend classes at the hospital campus, which is convenient and appealing to them. Registered nurses make up the largest percentage of employees at Avita and we are grateful to be able to provide this educational opportunity with Ashland University to our staff.”
Cindy Hartman, nursing director for Marion Technical College Nursing Program, also was excited about the project.
“The Marion Technical College Nursing Program provides quality education to prepare students for vital positions in the nursing profession. We support the continued professional growth of our Associate Degree students and graduates by forming a partnership with Ashland University,” Hartman said. “This partnership supports the growth of the nursing profession by creating a pathway to the baccalaureate degree. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to provide the highest quality nursing care to patients, families and communities.”
Dr. Lada Gibson-Shreve, provost and chief academic officer at Stark State, said that “Stark State’s mission is focused on affordable and transferable education as well as academic partnerships. The grant with Ashland University supports Stark State’s mission.” Dr. Kathy Sommers, dean of Health and Public Services at Stark, added that “the partnership with Ashland University provides students the opportunity to pursue baccalaureate professional nursing education, which is important to the students and our community. We both look forward to continuing the partnership, to advancing student success and to supporting health care in our communities.”
Dr. Kelly Gray, dean of Health Sciences for North Central State College, said she is pleased that graduates have another option for continuing to grow in the nursing profession. “While most NC State RN and LPN graduates enter the workforce, many pursue their bachelor’s degrees, and a few graduates pursue both. This partnership is another opportunity for practicing professionals to explore opportunities to move into nursing leadership and management. It helps NC State meet its mission and commitment to the region, and continue to provide a stream of qualified nurses to serve the growing needs of the health care industry here in north central Ohio,” Gray said.
AU plans to seek approval of a Master of Science in Nursing by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The College anticipates that this degree program will be available in 2018.
Ashland University’s CONHS is guided by its values of Integrity, Caring, Accountability, Respect and Excellence (I CARE) to educate individuals to become health care professionals committed to health related practice, leadership, and service. The CONHS provides undergraduate and graduate education in Nursing, Athletic Training, Dietetics, and Exercise Science and its graduates are prepared both professionally and personally for the challenges of an exciting and rewarding career as healthcare professionals.
Avita Health System is dedicated to providing an extraordinary patient experience and is proud to have patient satisfaction scores ranking above most regional and national health systems, as measured by the independent patient satisfaction. The creation of Avita health system occurred when Bucyrus Community Hospital and Galion Community Hospital joined in 2011. The hard work and dedication given by the Board of Directors, Medical Staff and employees has led to Avita’s ability to enhance services to the communities they serve. Avita has grown from approximately 450 employees in 2009 to over 1,400 employees who provide patient care in Crawford, Richland and Marion counties.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###