BHSH System and Grand Valley State Join Forces to Tackle Nursing Shortage

BHSH System, created from the merger of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) near Grand Rapids, have announced a partnership to create the $19 million BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program.
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BHSH System (pictured) and Grand Valley State University are partnering alleviate the nursing shortage with the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. // Courtesy of Grand Valley State University
BHSH System (pictured) and Grand Valley State University are partnering alleviate the nursing shortage with the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. // Courtesy of Grand Valley State University

BHSH System, created from the merger of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) near Grand Rapids, have announced a partnership to create the $19 million BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program.

This partnership is aimed at increasing the nursing talent pipeline by taking away financial barriers to college and smoothing the educational path to employment at BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan.

The health system will provide infrastructure, start-up costs and resources for increased clinical placements, training, and other support for students in the program. This includes grant dollars for all BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse scholars. GVSU will increase infrastructure support for students in the areas of financial aid, curriculum enhancements, technology and equipment, student support services, simulation enhancements, and clinical experiences.

“We challenged ourselves to be bold: What can we do, together with GVSU, to permanently increase access to education, strengthen nursing education programs and invest in talented, compassionate people who want to become nurses,” says Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System.

“Our teams delivered a joint, innovative proposal that expands opportunities for up to 500 future nurses and can be the model for others to emulate. We are incredibly excited about the nurse scholar program and the impact this will have in health care, for individual learners and for future generations.”

The partnership will create an opportunity for nearly 500 additional students to pursue a career in nursing over the next six years. The university will assume all future infrastructure costs and maintain a permanent increase in the number of students admitted to its Kirkhof College of Nursing, creating a lasting impact for our community, state, and region. More than 92 percent of all GVSU graduates within the health professions stay in Michigan.

A federal workforce analysis shows Michigan currently has a nursing shortage for its population, and that shortage has been exacerbated by the burnout and stress caused by the pandemic. Leaders at both institutions say the creative solution they’ve designed will build a stronger talent pipeline, and the partnership can serve as a model and inspiration to enterprises, universities, communities, and governments to solve the nation’s talent shortages.

“These talent gaps hold us back or put us at risk. We have many dedicated and talented students who want to pursue nursing, but we needed the creativity and support of our partners at BHSH System to make the expansion of nursing possible and affordable for more talented and diverse students,” says Philomena V. Mantella, president of GVSU. “This program is a huge leap forward and a model for other high need fields. I applaud the ingenuity and willingness of our teams to bring it to fruition.”

After all approvals and accreditation, the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program will be in place by January 2023.

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