ONEONTA — With the demand for registered nurses burgeoning in New York state, a grant from The Clark Foundation is helping Hartwick College acquire distance education and simulation equipment to provide more nurses for rural parts of the state.
The $250,000 grant is payable over two years, according to a media release Tuesday from the college. The New York State Bureau of Labor Statistics said demand for RNs in the state will exceed supply by 37,000 by 2015.
Only 8 percent of New York state’s registered nurses work in rural counties. At Bassett Healthcare Network, the vacancy rate has climbed from a low of 5 percent to 11 percent during the last year.
“The board of directors of The Clark Foundation is delighted to be supporting Hartwick so we can begin to immediately address the nursing shortage in rural regions,” Clark Foundation President Jane Forbes Clark said in the release. “The graduates of Hartwick’s nursing program are very talented individuals who are needed urgently, and we feel that this program will help sustain the nursing needs well into the future.”
The new equipment would seem a step up.
“These high-end simulators have pulses; they can speak; they have bowel and heart sounds. You can program them to pretty much do anything. They are so much more lifelike than practicing on a mannequin,” said Jeanne-Marie Havener, Hartwick professor of nursing and department chairman. “Simulation technology like this allows for our students to keep up with a wide range of practice, so we can ensure our students are much better prepared for the realities of the healthcare field.”
“At Bassett Healthcare, we must to continue to prepare local nurses who have ties to our
communities and will stay and grow in our local hospitals,” said Connie A. Jastremski, RN, MS, MBA, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services for Bassett Healthcare. “The quality nursing program at Hartwick College is now enhanced with new simulator technology, which will provide the students and our future nurses with the leading-edge skills they need so that they will be better prepared to care for the very sick patients in our hospitals.”
The upstate and central New York region has experienced a 24.6 percent drop in nurse graduation rates, primarily because of school closings and a lack of capacity in existing programs, according to the hospital. The state Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the Nursing Workforce Shortage recommended increasing the capacity of the educational pipeline.
The Clark Foundation of Cooperstown was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest charitable foundations in the United States.