Bay, SVSU partner to expand nursing education

Courtesy photo Bay College has selected Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) as its partner university and will receive a $2 million grant to administer a program in collaboration with SVSU for nurses to complete their bachelor’s degree.

ESCANABA — Bay College and Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) will collaborate to expand nursing education opportunities and grow the talent pool of nurses in the Upper Peninsula through a partnership supported by a grant from the State of Michigan.

Bay College has selected SVSU as its partner university and will receive a $2 million grant to administer a program in collaboration with SVSU for nurses to complete their bachelor’s degree. Under the agreement, students who complete an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) at Bay can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from SVSU’s fully accredited program.

With this financial support, Bay College will further develop nursing facilities, improve simulation equipment and experiences, increase student support services and increase the Nursing Learning Assistant support that will help with student success as this is very important to Bay College and the surrounding community.

“For many years Michigan community colleges serving rural areas, such as Bay, attempted unsuccessfully to win legislative authorization to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to support easier and more affordable access for local nurses to obtain their BSN,” said Bay College’s President Dr. Laura Coleman. “The historic bi-partisan compromise included in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget goes further to address this challenge than ever before. We’re delighted to partner with Saginaw Valley State University to work together to bring a BSN credential to the Bay College campus. We thank Governor Whitmer, Senator McBroom, and all those who supported this solution to a critical Northern Michigan health care workforce issue. We expect our first cohort of BSN students to begin in Fall 2023.”

By empowering students in Bay College’s associate degree program to work concurrently toward a bachelor’s degree from SVSU, the partnership will streamline the pathway to a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“The Bay College/SVSU partnership allows our well-prepared Associate Degree Nursing students the ability to seamlessly transition into a highly recognized BSN program for degree advancement,” said Bay College’s Dean of Allied Health, Evelyn Norkoli. “This collaborative partnership will certainly help support the national nursing shortage initiatives and recognizes our commitment to excellence in nursing practice and education. It also opens the opportunity for our students to receive highly qualified instruction in the community in which they live and work.”

“We enter this new partnership with Bay College with great enthusiasm,” said Marcia Mastracci Ditmyer, Dean of SVSU’s College of Health and Human Services.” Bay College offers an excellent associate degree nursing education and plays a vital role in preparing nurses to serve healthcare providers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Through this partnership, we can continue to improve safe, high-quality health care services for future generations.”

SVSU and Bay College are among many Michigan institutions participating in this program to expand nursing education opportunities throughout the state. Under the $56 million initiative, which is included in the fiscal year 2023 state budget, community colleges can receive funding to partner with a four-year college or university. This collaboration will include input from local employers and workforce development agencies. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will administer the grant.

Megan Rule, SVSU’s RN to BSN program coordinator, states, “attainment of the bachelor’s degree offers registered nurses a comprehensive, holistic professional education focusing on best practice, community health, leadership and process improvement as it relates to patient safety and quality care.”

Health care providers within our area recognize a growing need for highly prepared nurses. Scott Blixt from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital shared “I love the direction Bay College is going, with recent partnership agreements that allow our students to remain local to achieve their educational goals. Through this effort, I am hopeful that our students will also stay local for nursing work after achieving their BSN. Often times, when students work in our local hospitals while going to school, they hire on with us after graduating with their degree. This is very positive for our healthcare systems, who have been stricken with nursing shortages and very positive for our community in the fact to receive more efficient, quality care.”

Bay College nursing student Tristan Kuntze is one of the many students who are interested in the new collaborative program. Kuntze believes the SVSU BSN program will greatly benefit all current and future students in the nursing program who will be wanting to further their education in our own local community while staying close to home.

Bay College and SVSU expect to begin enrolling students through the new partnership for next fall, starting classes in August 2023. Anyone with questions on the SVSU BSN pathway should contact Bay College’s Allied Health Department at 906-217-4090, visit www.baycollege.edu/academics/programs/nursing-rn-bsn.php or Megan Rule MSN, BSN, RN, RN to BSN Coordinator at SVSU at 989-964-4184.



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