Michigan Community College Gets $2 Million to Start New Nursing Programs

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated February 8, 2024
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    A $2 million grant hopes to reduce the Michigan nursing shortage through creating an accessible and affordable ADN-to-BSN program.
    Nursing students studyingCredit: Getty Images
    • A $2 million grant was given to Mott Community College and Eastern Michigan University to design a collaborative ADN-to-BSN program.
    • Current MCC ADN students and recent graduates who are practicing RNs will be invited to begin the program, which will be taught primarily online.
    • MCC will use the grant money to increase accessibility and affordability for students to advance their education, including tuition assistance, mentors, coordinators, software, and lab facilities.

    Mott Community College and Eastern Michigan University (EMU) received a $2 million grant as part of the Sixty by 30’s ADN-to-BSN Completion Grant Program. Together, they are executing a plan to improve affordability and accessibility, helping associate degree in nursing (ADN) students transition to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program and increasing the number of BSN-prepared nurses.

    Cost-effective training can positively impact the nursing shortage in Michigan by increasing the number of nurses who can be trained quickly.

    The Sixty by 30 initiative is part of the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MiLEAP’s goal is to raise the number of working-age adults with a certificate or college degree in Michigan to 60% by 2030.

    MCC anticipates initially using the funds to primarily assist students with tuition to help fill nursing jobs in Michigan. Funding will be available to students currently enrolled in the ADN program and recent graduates of MCC’s ADN program working as registered nurses.

    MCC also plans to use the funds to help hire a coordinator/navigator to work with students through the enrollment period and a retention specialist to work with nursing students throughout the program, offering mentoring and coaching.

    Three leaders involved in the program spoke with Nurse Journal. These included Anar Guru, PT, DPT, Dean of Health and Human Services, Rhonda Burks, DNP, RN, professor of nursing and ADN to BSN Nurse Navigator for the MCC program, and Stephanie Souliam DNP, RN, nursing program director.

    “We have been working with EMU for over a year working on a plan to have an easy transition for our students,” said Burks and colleagues. “Some of the grant funds will be used to update MCC facilities to meet the needs of the adult learner. Plans are being finalized; however, some initial ideas include updating student study lounges, simulation labs, and classrooms.”

    Grant Funding Increases Accessibility and Affordability for Michigan Students

    The hope is that tuition assistance will encourage more ADN-prepared nurses to continue their education and receive bachelor’s degrees. In the fall of 2023, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing conducted the 14th annual nursing school survey to assess graduates’ ability to find employment.

    The survey looked at the percentage of graduates from 2022, gathering data on job offers after graduation and who had nursing jobs in Michigan within six months after graduation. The survey found that 84% of new BSN graduates had a job offer at the time of graduation, and 96% were working within six months.

    In comparison, a 2021 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of bachelor’s degree college graduates across all disciplines found that 55% were employed full-time six months after graduation.

    The AACN survey also found that 25% of hospitals require BSN-prepared nurses, and nearly 70% strongly preferred BSN graduates. The $2 million grant funding from Sixty by 30 will help to meet this need.

    As the students transition from the ADN-to-BSN program, the completion courses will be taught primarily online through Eastern Michigan University, with some classes being offered in person on the Mott Community College campus.

    “One of the specifics of the grant is to have an EMU class at MCC with MCC faculty teaching this class. We are currently working with EMU to decide on which class and which faculty would best fit our students here on the MCC campus,” said Burks and colleagues.

    New Collaborative Nursing Program Assists Students Transitioning to BSN Role

    In addition to positively influencing the number of BSN-prepared nurses entering the workforce to help address the nursing shortage in Michigan, MCC and EMU are also collaborating on programs to help students transition into the BSN role. MCC is updating its laboratory facilities and software and offering workshops for students to help them deliver a higher level of care.

    “Here at MCC we have already been working with other departments within our college for student support including Student Support Services (which includes counseling services), financial aid, and academic advising,” Burks and colleagues said.

    The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recognizes different routes to nursing practice. Graduates of a three-year diploma, three-year associate degree, and a four-year baccalaureate degree all take the same NCLEX-RN licensing examination.

    However, studies have demonstrated differences in patient outcomes between BSN-prepared nurses and other RNs. For example, a 2019 study published in Health Affairs demonstrated that for every 10% increase in the number of BSN-prepared nurses in a hospital, there was a 24% improvement in patients surviving to discharge with good cerebral performance in those who had an in-hospital cardiac arrest.

    The AACN also noted results from the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey showed the highest level of BSN-prepared nurses in the workforce at 71.7%, which the researchers reported as the workforce “becoming increasingly more educated.”

    The Sixty by 30 grant funds must be initiated by December 31, 2024, and spent by September 30, 2026. The application deadline was September 30, 2023, and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity anticipates the ADN to BSN Completion Grant will be executed on a rolling basis and given to community colleges with collaborative partnerships with a Michigan public university or not-for-profit BSN program.

    “Even after the grant is complete, we will continue to support nursing students to go on for their BSN and even further in their education. We already have a number of University partnerships for students to complete an RN-BSN and are continuing to develop these opportunities for our students,” said Burks and colleagues.