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HCC secures $1 million nursing grant

Hagerstown Community College has secured a five-year grant for $1,029,138 from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission to significantly expand its nursing program. This funding will enable HCC to double the yearly graduates of its associate degree nursing program by 2013.
     
“This is a wonderful opportunity for HCC to work with local health care partners to more adequately address the growing need for nurses,” said HCC President Guy Altieri. “These additional funds will permit us to hire faculty and staff to expand our program and reduce the size of the waiting list of students who cannot be admitted because of our current program limitations.”
     
Officials at HCC and the Washington County Health System collaborated to identify the need for these funds and have developed a plan to ensure the grant objectives are met. HCC and WCHS will share resources to expand the number of qualified bedside nurses through a number of initiatives which include jointly supported salaries for additional nursing faculty, clinical placement opportunities, equipment acquisition from vendors, and the establishment of a coordinating council comprised of representatives from HCC and WCHS.
     
“Washington County Hospital is excited about the opportunity to work with HCC on this grant. The hospital will be the clinical partner for the college, providing nursing students with a very important part of their professional training. Many members of our excellent nursing staff will be available to teach and mentor those they will be working with in the near future. This is a significant advance for health care education in Washington County.” said James P. Hamill, president and CEO of Washington County Hospital.
     
Specifically, the grant funds will allow HCC to do the following:

1. Increase the number of students enrolling in the nursing program from 95 (fall 2006) to 177, and increase the yearly graduates from a current average of 40 to 97 by the 2012-2013 academic year.
     
     2. Increase the number of pre-nursing students who meet requirements for admission into the nursing program, through provision of comprehensive academic support services.
     
     3. Increase the retention rate of nursing program students and NCLEX passage rates, using a full range of instructional support services.
     
     4. Increase the number and percentage of minority and male students enrolled in the nursing program, through a variety of outreach strategies.
     
     5. Provide additional opportunities for students and graduates to transfer from Hagerstown Community College to a bachelor of science nursing program.
     
The grant comes at an important time for HCC. A $21 million building renovation is currently underway on its Career Programs Building, which houses HCC’s nursing program. Greatly expanded square footage for nursing instruction will include four skills laboratories, totaling 32 beds, in support of nursing fundamentals, maternal child health care, medical surgical nursing, and mental health care. In these, as well as three “wet” laboratories and state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology laboratories, students will have access to leading edge simulation and other learning tools.
     
HCC is one of nine awardees to receive this grant through the second round of funding in the Competitive Institutional Grants component of the Nurse Support Program (NSP II). This program is a unique venture that teams hospitals and colleges to create partnerships to address the critical shortage of nurses. The Health Services Cost Review Commission has contracted with the Maryland Higher Education Commission to administer this program.

Hagerstown Community College was founded in 1946, as Maryland’s first community college. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Washington County Hospital, a part of Washington County Health System, was chartered in 1904 and opened in 1905. It is accredited as an acute care facility by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.