Health Care Sector in Michigan
The strength of the health care industry in Michigan is more important than ever as health care remains Michigan’s largest single employer. With more than 450,000 direct health care jobs, the total sector exceeds Michigan’s agricultural, educational and automotive/ manufacturing sectors. The health of this industry ripples throughout the economy of the state supporting communities through tax dollars and direct wages & salaries paid to employees. Current and projected shortages in critical areas of health care must be addressed to protect this vital industry and Michigan’s economy and Oakland University has a plan to accomplish this by constructing a new state-of-the-art Human Health Building thereby increasing educational opportunities available to students pursuing health care careers.
A strong health care workforce contributes to community stability by providing its employees with relatively high salaries and benefits necessary to support families and contribute tax dollars to the government and purchasing power to local economies. Health care professionals are generally highly educated and possess high levels of skills and training. As an industry health care has a distinct advantage over some other sectors by being less cyclical and therefore, less susceptible to economic downturns. Overall, a strong health care industry is imperative to the strength of Michigan’s economy.
The need for a strong health care industry is clear to see and the lack thereof would have catastrophic results for the state, its citizens and our economy in the future. The issue of ensuring the future strength of the system depends on the ability to meet the demand for a qualified workforce of health care professionals. The capability of Oakland University to supply, educate and deliver the number qualified health care professionals needed to meet the current and projected demand is severely limited by the current physical space available to the School of Nursing and the School of Health Science.
Dangerous Shortages: Nurses and Nursing Educators
The Oakland University School of Nursing has taken dramatic steps forward in the area of expanding enrollment, actually doubling our enrollment over the last five years. By developing and utilizing educational innovations, technology, and partnerships, the School of Nursing is maximizing the capacity of students we can accept and graduate. With a vision of creating a “University without Walls,” we received full accreditation from North Central Association (NCA), and can now offer our RN to BSN program completely online to prospective students across the country and across the globe. We’re partnering with local hospitals and health care systems to expand the clinical experiences of our students, and we’re partnering with local educational institutions to expand the physical space available for our courses and programs. We are currently stretching as far as we can within the physical and economic limitations under which we operate. Expanding our existing facilities is critical to continuing our growth.
To meet demand, the School of Nursing offers a variety of solutions and options for individuals to become nursing educators. The Master’s of Science in Nursing Education program prepares nurses to teach in an academic setting. For nurses who possess a masters’ degree, the new accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is available. This program prepares nurses to assume leadership positions as professors in academic institutions, administrators in health systems, and policy makers in government.
Opportunities and Solutions: Rationale for Building
The vision for the School of Nursing is to prepare nurse leaders using innovative educational models, evidenced based research and collaborative partnerships.
Our ability to attain our vision and educate an adequate number of nursing professionals to meet increasing demand is currently limited by physical constraints of our educational environment. Our ability to attract faculty from a scarce pool of candidates is also hampered by limitations associated with space and research capacity. Our ability to serve the community in a clinical capacity and to offer our students unique opportunities to interact and collaborate with internal and external entities would be greatly expanded by a new building. The opening of the new Human Health Building will support our educational vision and enhance our ability to serve the public need for additional health care professionals.
A new building housing Health Sciences and School of Nursing will allow us to expand our offerings and accommodate larger nursing enrollment. With expanded space we could potentially double our current undergraduate enrollment. Graduate study enrollment would benefit greatly from increased availability and access to research space in a new building. With the additional space and resources a new building would provide, Oakland University School of Nursing could potentially produce 50-100% more graduate students possessing advanced degrees in nursing.
Attracting the Right Faculty:
Key to the success of this vision is our ability to attract and retain world class instructors who can provide an integrated learning experience for our students. Instructors will be attracted to the environment and opportunities at Oakland University for them to teach, perform research and practice nursing all within one facility. Nationally, the vacancy rate for nursing faculty is just under 10% with projected worsening of the problem in both the short and long term. This particular shortage is sited as the single most significant barrier to increasing the supply of adequately trained RNs. The ability of OU to attract and retain faculty is imperative to our success. Access to expanded laboratories, simulation laboratories, computer labs, research space, and interactive multi-media capabilities will allow us to attract the very best nursing educators and to reach a higher level in nursing education.
Exposing Students to the Best Learning Environment:
Students will have hands on clinical experience and opportunities to conduct evidence-based research with faculty in a center that serves the community. The center will focus on pre-symptom health screening, family health and chronic disease management for patients managing illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Opportunities for research and scholarship will be available to both undergraduate and graduate students working within this clinical environment.
Partnerships and Collaboration:
Collaboration with internal and external entities for the purpose of furthering the educational opportunities of our students, fostering research and development opportunities of our faculty and graduate students and extending the educational capabilities and influence of practice of nursing will be the hallmark of the School of Nursing. We will continue to expand upon current relationships with hospitals and health systems that have supported our educational efforts in the past, and will have the increased capabilities provided by research facilities to contribute more to those relationships. Working across the other educational disciplines at the University we will be able to expand our efforts in numerous areas of research and innovation.
For more information about the building or partnering or sponsoring a part of the new Human Health Building, please contact Colette O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.