May 20, 2004
INFORMATION: John McElwain or John Green, (661) 362-3494 or 3684
College-Hospital Partnership Helps Produce 64 Nursing Graduates
SANTA CLARITA College of the Canyons will graduate a record 64 nursing students, some as a result of an innovative partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital to attract more nurses and help alleviate a critical nursing shortage.
Its a dramatic increase in nursing graduates from the previous year, when 30 students completed the program. The growth in graduation numbers is attributable to the opening of the Clinical Education Center at the hospital in 2002.
This would not have been possible without the collaboration and vision of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, which provided the instructor and the space, said Sue Albert, dean of allied health at the college. The hospital made it possible for us to increase the number of nursing students and have this many graduates.
The Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital/College of the Canyons Clinical Education Center is a 1,400-square-foot stand-alone facility on the hospital campus dedicated to the education and training of future nurses. The program is unique in that students receive real-world training, education and employment at their community hospital.
As a result of our partnership, we have more graduates who through their passion and desire have entered the nursing profession and will remain in our community to improve health care in the Santa Clarita Valley, said Diane Lynch, the hospitals chief nursing officer. Its fulfilling a need that the whole community can be proud of.
A key component of the program is the hospitals employment of a select number of student nurses, who are hired at 80-percent pay for 67-percent time. This arrangement gives students steady paychecks, time to study and incentive to succeed.
The hospital donated the Clinical Education Center to be used as a comprehensive teaching lab and agreed to pick up the cost of a full-time nursing instructor, the students tuition and other costs.
It shows that when service and academia work together, they can overcome immense barriers, Lynch added.
The college-hospital partnership allows nursing students to concentrate on their chosen careers by learning and working in a real hospital environment in their own community, Albert said, adding that all of the students have jobs upon graduation.
The partnership addresses some of the key concerns outlined in a study on California community college associate degree nursing programs that determined that situational factors among nursing students often hamper their educational pursuits. Such factors also are a significant barrier to their success.
Lack of money and material resources is frequently a problem for many community college students and they must often work part- or full-time to support themselves or help support their families, according to the study by The Center for Student Success. The report cited such situational factors as changing work schedules and responsibilities as common reasons for students dropping out of nursing programs.
Note to Editors: Reporters and photographers are invited to cover the nursing students pinning ceremony, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 22, in the colleges outdoor central-campus Honor Grove.