Addressing nursing shortage

BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) -- In an effort to combat a nursing shortage, Eastern Iowa Community College will hold a press conference Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. to announce a new partnership that will allow nursing graduates to transfer to the University of Iowa and finish their Bachelors of Nursing Degree in a year and a half.

The college hopes this partnership between them and the University of Iowa will help fill the void of aging and retiring nurses. The Iowa Board of Nursing says half of registered nurses in Iowa are 50 years old or older. This “RN to BSN 3+1.5” agreement would allow EICC students to complete their Bachelors of Nursing Science (BSN) degree in only a year and a half through the University of Iowa’s online RN-BSN program.

The Program Director of Nursing at Eastern Iowa Community College says the program has many benefits that will give students leadership experience and also allows them to stay here in the community and work.

“Allows them to continue working as an RN, get that experience while they are taking courses through the University of Iowa and just allows them to grow professionally after that's completed,” said Lori Haugen.
The nursing degree is one of the largest programs Eastern Iowa Community College offers.

Right now, there are around 210 EICC students enrolled within the Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott campus in Bettendorf. Many of those students end up working for the local hospitals here.

Local hospitals in the QCA are also feeling the affect. Health officials say this is the worst nursing shortage since the introduction of Medicare.

UnityPoint Health Trinity is in need of 76 nurses. Sarah Turner, the Talent Acquisition Manger says that number isn't so bad compared to about a year ago, when they were in need of 120 nurses. Turner says the nursing shortage is a problem the Quad Cities has been seeing for about five to six years and like any profession some years are better than others.

Turner says many factors play a role into the shortage such as less students are going to school for nursing and the baby boomer population is getting older and will need more healthcare in the next few years. In order to fill the gap, the hospital works with all the local colleges as well as their Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences to combat the shortage.

“So programs like what EICC is doing with University of Iowa are great. We have some similar program at our colleges that are doing those types of things as well,” says Turner. “I think as a community, we all realize that and kind of band together to make the best outcome we can for our patients,”

“Very aware of the nursing shortage we definitely address that when we are talking to students out in the community and at the schools,” said Hilary Henke, Director of Student Services and External Relations at Trinity College. “That’s a big driver for people, they want a career that will be stable for them and provide a good source of income,”

Trinity College is affiliated with UnityPoint Health. The school and hospital work together to help students continue their education and end up hiring 60% of the students that graduate.

TV6 also reached out to Genesis and this is what their Chief Nursing Executive and VP of Patient Services had to say:

We continue to enhance a robust partnership with our local and regional Nursing Programs, who graduate approximately 250 new nurses per year, to ensure our nurses of tomorrow. Genesis also offers paid employment opportunities to student nurses in their last semester as a Nursing Assistant so the new nurse can gain practical experience as a student in their last semester before becoming a nurse which has been a very successful program. As Genesis and the scope of healthcare in which nurses are needed continues to grow you will most likely always see openings at Genesis for nursing as we operate in a 24/7 environment. Genesis continues to significantly invest in our workforce to ensure we are not only a great place to receive care but a great place to work and are experiencing the lowest nursing vacancy rates in years.

If you know anyone looking for a career in Nursing at Genesis: Genesis Health System

For more about careers with UnityPoint Health Trinity: Careers UnityPoint Health

Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences: Trinity College

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges: Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

University of Iowa College of Nursing: University of Iowa College of Nursing