After reading the article describing Tommy Thompson's proposals I came across this article and wanted feedback, what do you think of the fast track approach?
Fast-track nursing plan questioned
Development Center offers tutorials, but not degrees
By Sarah A. Webster / The Detroit News
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SOUTHFIELD -- There's a new fast track to becoming a nurse in Michigan, but it costs between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on educational experience, and some officials question how the program is run.
Medical Career Development Centers Inc., which recently opened an office near Evergreen in Southfield, is capitalizing on the need for nurses and the desire of some students to get a nursing degree.
There are more than 2,000 vacant nursing jobs
in the Metro Detroit area and about 125,000 nationwide, hospital associations report. The problem is contributing to decreased quality of care and higher labor costs. A new nurse makes about $40,000 here, and signing bonuses up to $10,000 are not uncommon because of competition.
Despite a new Michigan scholarship
program to boost nursing school
enrollment, state hospital officials have complained there aren't enough slots available within colleges and universities here for potential students.
So the Development Centers aims to graduate more nurses quickly.
The Development Centers do not grant a nursing degree, said Karen Grobson, executive director of the Southfield location.
Rather, the new company offers an intense tutorial program that helps students earn an associate nursing degree through the Albany, N.Y.-based Excelsior College, a distance learning degree program, at an accelerated pace of about one year. Students can then take the state board exam to become a registered nurse.
While she acknowledges the program is not cheap, Grobson, who has been a nurse for 24 years, said the evening and weekend classes are convenient and the pace is accelerated.
"There are a lot of nursing students on wait lists," Grobson said. "They can be out in the work force within a year."
Bill Stewart, a spokesman for Excelsior, said the college has no formal affiliation with the Development Centers or similar companies. He said that earning an associate degree in nursing through the college costs about $6,000 overall and usually takes about three years. Excelsior is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
Grobson said she hoped Excelsior might someday partner with tutorial services, but as it stands, Development Centers helps students enroll in Excelsior and then complete the course quickly.
Denise Jacob, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Nurses Association, said Excelsior is respected but that she had concerns about the Development Centers program.
"It suggests becoming an RN is an easy thing to do, and that's not at all true. It's misleading," she said.
Carol J. Bickford, a spokeswoman for the American Nurses Association, also was not familiar with the Development Centers program but said Excelsior is well-regarded.
"The course work can be very tough," she said.
Indeed, that's why the Development Centers was started in the first place, said Chris Bouwens, director of program development. He said the tutorial service, which is provided by master degree-level nurses, helps provide students with the support they need to succeed.
Stewart of Excelsior said the three-year completion rate for the nursing program is about 52.7 percent and their students pass RN licensing exams at the same rate as other students. He also said that Excelsior provides all the necessary educational support to its students.
Development Centers, which has enrolled eight students in its current tutorial class, predicts the need for their program will only grow. Development Centers was founded in February and also has a location in Sparta, outside of Grand Rapids, and Utah.
By 2020, the federal government projects nationwide RN shortages of between 300,000 and 650,000.
"We see the potential for growth as enormous," Bouwens said.
You can reach Sarah A. Webster at (313)222-1463 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 4, '02
"an intense tutorial program that helps students earn an associate nursing degree through the Albany, N.Y.-based Excelsior College, a distance learning degree program, at an accelerated pace of about one year. Students can then take the state board exam to become a registered nurse. "
Yeah, right. A one-year cram course in passing the NCLEX. No pre-reqs? Apparently clinicals will be all but nonexistent, etc. Just what we need to "solve" the nursing shortage.
I can see having a one-year course that encompasses CNA and other skills, but not having the grads be crammed for the NCLEX and be called "nurses," because they wouldn't be. Being called something else could work. Something that would indicate a skill level between CNA and LVN.
Last edit by sjoe on Oct 4, '02
Oct 5, '02
For all of you who do not know I live in Michigan, and part of this article is incorrect. There is no nurse scholarship program here yet. There is a bill that has passed the senate and one that has passed by the house, it is just a bit different, however the two have not be reconciled yet. Plus the money to do it was supposed to come from the Tobacco settlement money that Michigan received, 4 million of it anyway. And at this time that money is up for grabs. A lobby group went to court to have the issue of where the Tobacco Money is to go be placed on the ballot. Initially when Michigan received the Tobacco Money the Governor had pledged the money would go to help with healthcare costs, but then reniged on that pledge. Instead it has been going to scholarships, not nursing at this time. Michigan offers a MEAP scholarship.
The MEAP is the standardized test that all Michigan seniors have to take, and if one does well on it than the state gives the student a $2500 scholarship to be used at a Michigan college, if the student goes to an out of state college than they receive $1000. My oldest child that went to Western Michigan University this fall received the scholarship and that $1250 a semester helps. It is only good for the first year, it is not an ongoing scholarship. If the ballot proposel passes than the MEAP money may not be available. Plus the 4 million earmarked to give scholarships for new nurses will drop to $800,000. It remains to be seen what will happen.
The nurse scholarship program was also initiated by a physician who is also a senator for Michigan, Sen. Swartz. He practices in Battle Creek, at the hospital my hospital leases the top floor from. He is universally scorned by the nurses at Battle Creek Health System because he is one of those physicians that is a butthole. There were hearing by the Senate in regards to the nursing scholarship program here, with nurses from the Michigan Nurses Association testifying. While each believed a program is necessary they all questioned the use of Tobacco Money to fund it, because even at the time hearing were going on there was rumblings about the Tobacco Money being used for purposes besides the health of Michigan residents, as the Governor had first said it would be used. The argument of course is that having more nurses will increase the health of Michigan residents, however it was known then that there would likely be a fight over the money.
The other thing that was said at the hearing is that there was much that could be accomplished in the retention area if the state would pass legislation that improved the workplace, and would not cost the state any money. Starting with banning mandatory overtime. The recomendations of the MNA was discounted, and the scholarship program remained the focus. Until the election in November and the ballot issues are done the scholarship program is in flux, no further work is being done at this time to reconcile the two bills until it is known whether the citizens here want the money to go to health related illnesses or to scholarships, as well as other things.
The Govenor has played dirty politics to try to force the residents of Michigan to vote no the the ballot issue. A couple months ago he removed the state money the goes to cities and townships for emergency services. Fire fighting, EMS etc... stating that without the Tobacco Money in the teasury the state could not afford to give the cities and townships money for such needed services. The outcry was severe and nasty. Within a couple weeks the legislature had overrode this and the money was restored for the emergency services. However it left a bad taste in the mouths of many who are really angry with the Governor. He cannot run for reelection because of term limits, but the Republican candidate for Governor now is his Lt. Governor, who is taking the bite for this fiasco. Current polls indicate the ballot proposel may pass. And currently the Democratic candidate is well ahead in the polls.
The Democratic candidate is the state Attorney General, she has busted more nursing homes for fraud and poor care than any previous Attorney General, and is on the record as stating there is nothing in state law that supports the use of mandatory overtime. Many nurses I know are planning to vote for her and the scholarship for new nurses be damned. They feel workplace issues should be at least as important. Otherwise the rate of nurses leaving will not decrease.
As far as Excelsior college, I knew there was a big push from them but didn't realize the reason. They are fairly aggresive in their marketing to those that even look into it. Have a friend who is an LPN that looked into the program to get her RN, and they kept calling her at work until she got flat nasty with the rep. She had been looking at different avenues, but the rep for Excelsior was incredibly aggressive in trying her to sign up with them. I am going to have to look into this a bit more. My own personal opinion is that this is a poor way to educate people to become nurses. From what I understand it is very expensive for one, and they do not set up clinicals for you. You set up your own clinicals. I may be wrong, but I know that is how it was supposed to work for my friend. However she is already an LPN so that may be different for a person with no nursing education at all. Something for me to chew around a bit and do some investigation into. Thanks Michelle!
I put some spacing in for my tired eyes. Karen
Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 5, '02