Dr. Steven Bennion, President of Southern Utah University, gratefully accepted today, a donation of $125,000 from Intermountain Health Care (IHC) to help train more registered nurses.
Nationally there is a shortage of nurses, and the trend is expected to continue. Some estimates project that by 2020 the U.S. will have a 20 percent shortage in the number of nurses needed. While Utah has not yet experienced the shortage to the degree other places in the country have, more nurses are needed to care for the sick and elderly.
“One of the major challenges in Utah,” says Nancy Nowak, RN, IHC’s chief nursing officer, “is that many qualified applicants for nursing school are turned down because the programs don’t have the capacity for more students. These donations will help address that problem by allowing more teaching staff to be added to the programs.” Nowak concludes, “Rather than wait until the nursing shortage becomes a crisis in Utah, we’ve taken steps to be proactive.”
The donation, and thus new programming, are avenues by which IHC is fulfilling part of its mission of community service—that is, providing more graduates to work in Utah’s hospitals and clinics.
Donna Lister, chair of SUU’s Department of Nursing, states, “The money awarded by IHC to Southern Utah University's Nursing Program will assist us in bringing on an additional faculty member to meet the existing need for nursing educators at SUU.
SUU has increased its number of admitted students from 24 per year, when it was a cooperative program with Weber State, to 20 per semester (40 per year), a program now completely within SUU. Lister reports that the Department has already received more than 110 applications for admission for the Fall 2005 semester alone. “We are very pleased,” Lister says, “that IHC is partnering with us to increase the number and quality of nursing graduates in Southern Utah.”
Other institutions will also receive grants from IHC to increase the number of graduates from their nursing programs, including BYU, the College of Eastern Utah, Dixie State College, Salt Lake Community College, Weber State University, Westminster College, and Utah Valley State College. It is expected that the grants will allow more than 600 additional nursing graduates to be produced by Utah colleges and universities over the next five years, the window of time over which the IHC donation will be allocated.
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Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to 6,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.