Local Health Care Leaders Oppose Cancellation of HSU’s Nursing Program – April 14, 2010
Save the nursing program
DOUGLAS A. SHAW, CEO, MAD RIVER COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
RE: PROPOSED ELIMINATION OF
HSU’S NURSING PROGRAM
“SHOW YOUR SUPPORT DAY –
FRIDAY, APRIL 9
I am greatly concerned that Humboldt State University (HSU) Academic Senate is considering the possibility of eliminating its nursing program.
There is a severe shortage of health care providers programs nationwide. Closing HSU’s nursing program will only exacerbate this situation.
We are all familiar with the fact that our aging population is growing – the baby boomer bubble – and it would be a mistake to close any nursing or health care related program. The health care impact of our aging baby boomers has not yet taken place and when it happens, it will tax the entire health care system to a yet unforeseen magnitude.
Nursing is a wonderful career for our country’s young adults. There will always be a need for nurses. Moreover, nursing provides an important economic portal for our young adults to become fiscally successful and experience upward financial mobility.
I realize we are all struggling during these challenging fiscal times. However, this decision must consider the current and projected high level need for graduate nurses, their excellent employment opportunities both local and national, the priceless importance of their contributions to health care and the strong support the HSU nursing program has locally.
Although some cost reduction may be realized by closing down the program, it is clear that the expense of trying to reinstate the program at some future date would probably be prohibitive. Once the nursing program is dead, resuscitation will be extremely difficult.
A crucially needed program
The Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society is very concerned about the recommendation of the Academic Senate to eliminate the Humboldt State University Nursing Program.
Humboldt County is a rural, medically underserved area. The recommendation is in direct opposition to the needs of the Community. This proposal is also in direct conflict with the current national climate of concern about health care delivery systems and health professional shortages.
As with physicians, it is difficult to recruit from outside areas when the candidates haven’t lived in our beautiful area. HSU has developed the reputation as a “destination” Nursing Program.
Students graduating from this program often choose to stay, pursue their careers and raise families here. Many of our local public health nurses are graduates of the Humboldt State program as well. We are already facing severe nursing shortages.
Even with the two local professional nursing educational programs there are not enough new nurses to keep up with demand. That condition exists despite the fact that both local nursing programs are impacted, both graduate a significant majority of students and over 80 percent of nursing school graduates stay in nursing careers long term.
Furthermore, nurses with baccalaureate level education provide better health outcomes with greater value in the healthcare setting.
The North Coast needs this program. Our patients and our community need nurses who are dedicated and want to stay and work locally.
We strongly encourage HSU to find other ways to balance their budget than elimination of this vitally important program.
Hal Grotke, M.D., president
Humboldt-Del Norte County
Medical Society, Eureka