CHI St. Vincent, a regional health network serving central and southwest Arkansas since 1888, has announced a $1.1 million gift to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) designed to address the nation’s nursing shortage.
The university and the health network signed an agreement for a five-year recruitment, educational, and training partnership that supports the CHI St. Vincent Nursing Pathway Program. It provides the UAPB Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program with:
- Student educational and financial support and faculty professional development.
- 21st Century onsite medical training.
- Funding to help recruit and place the next generation of registered nurses.
According to UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence Alexander, the collaboration addresses the shortage in the profession faced by nursing programs and medical institutions across the nation. “UAPB has been on the front lines in preparing nurses for the changing demographics and cultural shifts of the profession,” said Alexander. “We are uniquely prepared to recruit and train nurses who can immediately impact their communities.”
A non-traditional approach to preparing nurses and recruiting diverse talent, the partnership allows UAPB to serve as a logical training point for nurses and medical professionals. In addition, the university will work with CHI St. Vincent to provide hands-on internships and job placements for student nurses who advance through the program. VeLois Bowers, Owner and Principal Consultant, VHB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consulting Firm, assisted in facilitating the partnership. “As a proud alumnus of UAPB, I’ve always felt a strong commitment to reach out to my corporate relationships and share the incredible talent UAPB produces. And like CHI St. Vincent, the responses have been amazing. This partnership is an example of what the future holds for creating the diverse pipeline of talent organizations like CHI St. Vincent are looking to obtain, stated Mrs. Bowers.”
The CHI St. Vincent networks include primary care, specialty clinics, urgent care, hospitals, home health, rehabilitation, and surgery centers. As a result, its network offers a broad spectrum of learning and placement opportunities for nursing students. According to CHI St. Vincent Market CEO Chad Aduddell, the collaboration represents a logical partnership between the two institutions. “CHI St. Vincent has a historical mission of compassionately serving the communities in which we work. Given the rich legacy of UAPB and its impact on the state, it’s only natural that the two institutions would create such a partnership.”
The gift also represents an opportunity to bring expanded talent and research opportunities into the nursing program. According to Diann Williams, MSN, RN, CNE, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing, this grant will bolster UAPB in a competitive market, enabling the program to recruit and retain highly qualified nursing faculty with advanced degrees. “This opportunity is an educational game-changer for our nursing program,” said Williams. “As we prepare the next generation of skilled nursing professionals, it is encouraging to know that UAPB will have these real-time learning resources for our students. Learn more about UAPB’s Department of Nursing.