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Nursing Collaborative Tackles Impending Nursing Shortages, Enhances Workforce Development for Northeast Ohio


News Release

Date March 14, 2017

UH: George Stamatis
O: 216-844-3635
M: 216-346-9323

CSU: William Dube
O: 216-687-2257
M: 216-650-5598

Tri-C: John Horton
O: 216-987-4281

UH, CSU, and Tri-C collaboration creates economic incentives and support for aspiring RNs to earn nursing degrees and remain in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND — A collaboration between University Hospitals (UH), Cleveland State University (CSU), and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) will establish a comprehensive workforce development pathway to increase the numbers of registered nurses, and increase the number who earn a baccalaureate degree, in nursing (BSN). The goal of the collaboration is to proactively address the impending shortage of nurses in Northeast Ohio.

The unique collaboration between a health system, a university and a community college will better meet the needs of students, employers and the community, and will serve as a model for other communities around the United States who face similar challenges.

Specifically, the program will tackle the challenges that nursing students face at every stage of their education and careers by:

  • Instituting a new, primarily evening and weekend, cohort of 64 students in CSU’s BSN program to add to the 160 students currently admitted each year. In addition to its established tuition reimbursement program, UH will support these students in the following ways:

o Creation of a UH Nursing Scholars program offering 20 students a $12,000 tuition support contract for their junior and senior years.
o Incentivizing qualified and experienced UH RNs to serve as CSU clinical instructors.
o Extending students’ opportunities to work as part-time nursing assistants while attending school.

  • Offering tuition support to enhance the participation by Tri-C graduates in the CSU RN to BSN Program:

o UH will award 20 UH Nursing Scholars a $6,000 tuition support contract for their second year at Tri-C and their last year in the CSU RN to BSN program, for a total of $12,000.
o Tri-C will offer a $3,000 scholarship to their students enrolled in the CSU RN to BSN Program.

  • Supporting nursing students at Tri-C and CSU to successfully complete their respective nursing programs through financial assistance, work opportunity and services, such as coaching, counseling, and support services, through identified workforce agencies.
  • Extending students opportunities to work as part-time nursing assistants at UH while attending school and increasing the availability of the required clinical placements.

“UH is significantly invested in this collaboration because it addresses so many of the issues that prevent entry into nursing school, achievement of a baccalaureate in nursing, and the opportunity to thrive as a professional nurse,” said Jean Blake, RN, BSN, MJ, Chief Nursing Officer for UH.

By 2020, the Center for Health Affairs Northeast Ohio Nursing Initiative’s Nursing Forecaster estimates that Northeast Ohio will need at least another 3,500 nurses to care for the rapidly aging local population. Nationally, those estimates rise to nearly one million additional nurses needed to adequately care for the total number of patients.

Additionally, to handle the increasingly complex healthcare needs of a growing population of older patients, a significant percentage of these nurses will require the additional education and experience gained from a four-year degree, the BSN. In fact, the Institute of Medicine has issued a recommendation that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have a baccalaureate degree by 2020. Northeast Ohio’s percentage is approaching 40 percent, thus this bold collaboration will provide a strong boost toward the national goal.

“This collaborative will make it possible for more people to pursue multiple pathways toward a BSN degree, minimize current barriers for student success and enhance timely graduation of professional registered nurses,” said Timothy Gaspar, PhD, RN, Dean of Nursing at CSU. “Even better, this program will entice promising young people to stay in the Cleveland area and excel at providing nursing care for the people of our region. It will address the registered nurse shortage, as well as enhance the health care of the workforce in our region.”

This nursing collaborative closely aligns with some of the major principles that the American Nurses Association has identified as crucial to the transformation of the health system, particularly those focused on ensuring a sufficient supply of skilled workforce that is dedicated to providing high quality health care services.

“Our hope is that this effort will support the residents of Ohio and empower the next generation of promising caregivers to pursue a lifelong career in nursing. It can also serve as a successful example of how other communities can address similar challenges,” said Vivian Yates, PhD, RN, Dean of Nursing at Tri-C.

Through the collaboration, the institutions hope to see a 40 percent increase in the number of CSU BSN graduates, from 160 currently to 224, beginning in 2020 when the new cohort graduates, and a 10 percent increase in the completion rate of Tri-C students within two years, which will increase RN graduates from these efforts; at least 50 RNs annually to the workforce from the CSU RN Refresher Program, and an ever increasing percentage of RNs in Northeast Ohio who hold a BSN degree.


About University Hospitals
Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of over 1 million patients per year through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 40 outpatient health centers and 200 physician offices in 15 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located on a 35-acre campus in Cleveland’s University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The main campus also includes University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, dermatology, transplantation and urology. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. UH is the second largest employer in northern Ohio with 26,000 employees. For more information, go to

About Cleveland State University
Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With 17,000-plus students, nine colleges and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2017 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report. Find more information at

About Cuyahoga Community College
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) opened in 1963 as Ohio's first community college and remains Ohio's oldest and largest public community college. For more than 50 years Tri-C has provided high quality, affordable education and programs to more than 900,000 members of our community. Tuition at Tri-C is the lowest in Northeast Ohio and among the lowest of all colleges in the state of Ohio. Each semester Tri-C offers more than 1,000 credit courses in more than 190 career and technical programs and liberal arts curricula. The College serves more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students annually.
Tri-C is ranked as one of the top schools in Ohio and nationally in awarding associate degrees in nursing. In August, 2015, Tri-C’s nursing program was granted continuing accreditation status through 2022 by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The national accreditation, which followed a rigorous, months-long review process, signifies that the College’s Division of Nursing meets the highest educational standards required by the industry.
For more information, visit