RRH’s College of Health Careers gets $1M to recruit more healthcare workers

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In the next few years, there will be a shortage of a half-million nurses nationwide.

News10NBC has reported extensively on staffing shortages locally and how they’re backing up the entire health care system but a new federal investment intends to help.

Derek Howard decided a few years ago to make a major change in his life. He got a grant to do a one-year program at Rochester Regional Health’s College of Health Careers to become a licensed practical nurse.

“I didn’t see it as like a free road or free trip, I knew, I was like if I don’t have to pay for this, I have no excuses… I have to study and do what I need to do to be successful,” he told News10NBC.

Howard graduated in June of 2021 and has been an LPN on the front lines ever since.

The College of Health Careers is focused on making the healthcare community more reflective of the community at large, in recruiting more black and brown men and women into medical programs and on Tuesday, it got a $1 million grant to boost that effort.

“This funding will help us to continue to allow students like Derek to come to school and leave debt-free,” says College President, Dr. Deborah Stamps.

The College starts its recruitment efforts early. It recently partnered with the Rochester City School District to create a “Scrubs Club,”.

“We truly believe you have to see it to be it, if you’ve never seen a nurse that looks like you, a physician that looks like you or a respiratory therapist that looks like you… you would never know that you could become one,” Dr. Stamps said.

Once someone is ready to make a commitment, the College has counselors, community partners and emergency funds to help support students who into challenges.

“Just today, I got a communication about a student who may not have a place to live and so we need to pull those resources finically and from the community to ensure she and her family are safe and she’s able to not interrupt her education because we know at the end of the day, when she completes the program and passes her boards and she’ll have a job if she wants it before she graduates, that’s going to help her get out of poverty,” Dr. Stamps explained.

As for Howard, his dedication to the well-being of our community doesn’t end as an LPN, “my plan is to continue on as an RN as well, so I’ll be doing that shortly,” he tolNews10NBC.

Congressmen Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) released the following statement in a press release Tuesday:

“Public health professionals like nurses have been the heroes uplifting our community—not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but every day. As we move forward, it’s clear we need more people to fill these critical roles and ease the burden on our overworked healthcare systems. That’s why I’m so proud to deliver $1 Million in funding to support Rochester Regional’s College of Health Careers and help more adult learners earn their nursing degrees.”

The Rochester General College of Health Careers is a not-for-profit academic institution of the Rochester Regional Health System. This
funding will support the degree program of an Associate in Applied Science with a major in nursing, preparing more adult learners with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to pursue health careers and fill the nursing shortage that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $1 million award is being made available as part of the Community Funding Project program allowing Members of Congress to provide direct investments to areas of their communities that need it most. Both Congressman Morelle and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer worked together to secure the funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Community Project Funding program.

The nursing shortage projects a shortfall of more than 500,000 nurses by 2030. A document titled "United States Registered Nurse
Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit" can be found here, which outlines this shortfall.

This funding was passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations package recently signed into law by the President. For more information on the program application, please click here.

More on the Nursing Associate of Applied Science Program:

This program will allow licensed practical nurses (LPNs) from an accredited and/or New York State Education Department-approved program to transfer into the program at RGCOHC. This program is designed specifically for LPNs and will build upon the knowledge/skills of an LPN while focusing on role transition of the LPN to a registered nurse (RN), specifically by further developing clinical judgment and critical thinking. The RGCOHC is also the home of the Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing (IGHSPN) which started in 1964 and has graduated more than 3000 LPNs serving our community. IGHSPN is a 10-month program and enrolls students twice annually.

To find out more, click here.