Governor Highlights Sutter Health/Sac City College Nursing Program
April 13, 2005 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger highlighted a unique partnership between Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region and Los Rios Community College District's Sacramento City College as a statewide model of a public/private partnership to add hundreds of new nurses to the health care job market.
The California Nurse Education Initiative is a five-point plan designed to reduce the nursing shortage and add thousands of nurses to California hospitals and health care facilities over the next five years. Through this Initiative, the governor has committed a $90 million public-private partnership to provide funding for nurse education.
The collaboration between Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, a non-profit health care organization with six hospitals in the greater Sacramento region, and Sacramento City College is a public/private model that could be replicated across the state to help address the growing need for more nurses. The partnership extends the California Board of Registered Nursing approved Associate Degree Nursing Program at Sacramento City College.
Sutter Center for Health Professionals
Sutter's commitment of nearly $17 million allowed for the creation of the Sutter Center for Health Professions, the extended campus of Sacramento City College that offers tuition-free nursing education to the greater Sacramento community.
As part of his press conference, Governor Schwarzenegger toured the Sutter Center for Health Professions, which is equipped with state-of-the-art clinical, information technology labs and classroom space.
In this unique partnership, Sutter has funded the cost of the Sacramento City College education, and provides the physical space for the extended campus, Sutter nurses as clinical and theory faculty, and the use of Sutter hospitals for the students' clinical experience.
Sacramento City College provides the accredited nursing program, including the BRN-approved curriculum and faculty oversight and mentorship.
Over the life of the program, the Sutter gift enables Sacramento City College to offer the program to more than 600 community students with no enrollment (tuition) or lab fees.
Nursing Shortage Crisis
The nursing shortage is reaching crisis proportions in the greater Sacramento area as area health care providers try to fill more than 1,400 vacant nursing positions. Sutter's primary focus is on finding ways to prepare more community residents to be nurses. This is one of many programs that Sutter supports.
Sarah Krevans, Regional Executive Officer for Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, said her organization wanted to find ways to help community members who are interested in pursuing health care careers, but aren't able to because of the cost of education or because the programs are already full. "We know there are a number of people who would enjoy health careers. Unfortunately, our schools are impacted, there are long waiting lists for people to achieve their career aspirations and health education can be expensive because of the highly specialized curriculum necessary. By providing the means for Los Rios to develop an extended campus nursing program, we are building our community's future health care workforce," Krevans said. "It is incumbent on us as health care providers to support the colleges and their efforts as they educate our future nursing workforce."
Los Rios Vice Chancellor Sandy Kirschenmann said the partnership fulfills a longstanding desire of the community college district. "For many years our district wanted to expand our nursing programs. We knew a critical nursing shortage was threatening our community and state. But lack of funding and lack of facilities were huge obstacles. It truly was the vision and philanthropy of Sutter that made this program possible. We are forever thankful to them for their vision and caring. Ours is a truly unique and exceptional partnership that hopefully, with the Governor's help, can be replicated in communities throughout the state."
Community students who receive Sutter scholarships or who enroll in the Sutter Center for Health Professions are not required to work for Sutter upon graduation. "Our hope is that these students continue to work in health care in Sacramento and be a part of caring for the health needs of our overall community," Krevans said.
On February 11, 2005 the first class of nurses graduated from the program, with a second class due to graduate in June 2005. The graduated students are working in a dozen nursing fields, ranging from psychiatric nursing to newborn nursery and emergency room.
Chris Hall is among the first graduating class from Sutter Center for Health Professions. "The program was intense and a lot of hard work, but it's all paying off because I get to do what I've always wanted. I get to help people," said Hall. "Without this program, I don't know how I ever would have achieved this goal. I'm grateful every day." Today, Chris is employed at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in the Trauma Neuro Intensive Care Unit.
"That’s one reason the decision to make this contribution was an easy one," said Krevans. "It's the right thing to do for our community. We have collaborated with other health care providers on a variety of programs, but this is something additional we are able to do to benefit the students and the community."
"We are delighted to work in partnership with Sutter," said Los Rios Chancellor Brice Harris. "Several years ago our Board of Trustees recognized the nursing shortage crisis and asked us to find ways to expand our nursing programs. Sutter Health has provided us with the means to realize that goal."
Sutter Health Media Line
Looking for more information on the nursing program?
Contact the Sutter Center for Health Professionals.
2700 Gateway Oaks