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SIU, SIH expand partnership to address nursing shortage with accelerated degree

SIU and SIH are partnering to try and combat the nursing shortage.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 3:49 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) -It’s an expanded partnership between a Heartland health care provider and Heartland university to try and solve the nursing shortage.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) and Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) want to get more nurses into the healthcare field.

So now, SIH is creating a scholarship program to speed up the process to get a nursing degree.

“SIH has been a great partner since day one,” said SIU Program Director for Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Kelli D. Whittington. “Actually, prior to even getting the program started.”

Whittington says this expanded partnership will help meet the needs of the region.

“We need to work with all of our clinical partners to do that pipeline of here’s the education system we need to be able to transfer that over into a career path for them,” said Whittington.

It will allow students who qualify to earn their Bachelor of Science in nursing degree in about a year with a fully-funded scholarship.

Candidates must have completed at least 70 hours toward a bachelor degree, including specific prerequisite courses.

Southern Illinois Healthcare’s Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre says “by working closely with SIU, we can build up our workforce and offer students a career path and guaranteed employment.”

“We are trying to help people go into health care because they want to help people,” Harre said.

Each student should get a scholarship, if they qualify. Officials particularly encourage students with backgrounds in chemistry, biology, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry or other health sciences to apply.

And Whittington says this is a great opportunity for those wanting to get into nursing.

“They’ve allowed us to go into their facilities and utilize them for all of our clinical needs, which is a great opportunity for our students to be put into practice what they see in the classroom,” said Whittington.

The expanded partnership is set to begin in the fall of this school year.

For details about the new scholarships and submitting an application, email Whittington at kellid@siu.edu.

The scholarship program advances the collaboration that has been in place for some time between SIU and SIH. SIU began its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2019.

When fully operational, officials anticipate SIU’s nursing program will provide training for about 300 students over a four-year period.

SIU’s nursing program offers three tracks: the traditional four-year bachelor’s program, RN to BSN degree-completion program and accelerated BSN program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2021 median annual salary for a registered nurse is $77,600.

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