New England College to expand nursing program
PSU, NEC support expansion of healthcare workforce with two $2 million federal grants
Thanks to two $2 million federal grants, Plymouth State University and New England College in Henniker will be expanding their nursing programs to support expansion of the state’s healthcare workforce.
Plymouth State will be receiving $2.1 million in funding to help it renovate the Samuel Read Hall Building, which has housed PSU’s nursing program since 2015. The renovations will expand the available physical learning space for the program, including its clinical simulation lab.
The funding comes amid a nationwide shortage of nurses, worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. A 2022 study published in the journal Health Affairs found the total number of registered nurses in the country decreased by more than 100,000 from 2020 to 2021, the largest drop seen in four decades of record-keeping. A significant number of nurses leaving the workforce were under the age of 35, and most were employed in hospitals.
“We’ve experienced the dire challenges posed by shortages in our nursing workforce, particularly amid the pandemic,” Shaheen said during a visit to PSU to announce the grant. “Now is the time to invest in robust nursing training and support to put quality healthcare within reach for every Granite Stater. I’m excited to secure funding for PSU’s Nursing Workforce Expansion project to do just that.”
Meanwhile, New England College’s nursing program will also be receiving a $2 million grant, Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster announced. The college will use the money to triple the size of its nursing program, and it is adding a third partner hospital to the program.
The college announced in December that Elliot Hospital in Manchester will become a partner in its three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing program, meaning students can work at the hospital before getting licensed as part of getting the bachelor of science degree. Concord Hospital and Catholic Medical Center are already part of the NEC program.
The $2 million grant, which will be used to renovate the 35,250-square-foot science facility on the school’s campus, will also allow the college to increase the program capacity for educating licensed nursing assistants and registered nurses from 40 students per cohort to 120 per cohort.
“Healthcare organizations rely on prepared, skilled staff to fulfill their missions, but many factors have complicated the ability to find the staff that is needed,” said Dr. Greg Baxter, CEO of Elliot Health System.
“This partnership with New England College will help to build and sustain talent now and well into the future.”