9/9/2008 Linfield College expands its nursing enrollment
PORTLAND -- Renovated and expanded facilities and a new scholarship program will help the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing educate more nurses to meet a growing national demand.
A $1.2 million renovation at the school, located on the campus of Legacy-Good Samaritan Hospital in Northwest Portland, will provide more classroom space to accommodate increased enrollments in Linfield's nursing program. Two additional grants are funding an expansion of the simulation laboratory and scholarships for populations currently underrepresented in the nursing field, including minorities and men.
In response to calls locally and nationally to increase nursing graduates, Linfield more than doubled its number of nursing graduates between 2001 and 2007, from 70 to 187 annually, according to Bonnie Saucier, dean of the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing.
The school redesigned the nursing curriculum; created an 18-month accelerated program that begins in the summer; began accepting only transfer students and students with prior bachelor’s degrees into the nursing program; and established an online RN to BSN program, designed for working registered nurses seeking to complete their bachelor's degrees.
"The growth of our student body put a severe strain on spaces, faculty and resources," Saucier said. "This renovation allows us to expand our facilities as well as bring them up to date technologically. We now have new teaching spaces that feature the latest in digital equipment as well as space that can serve many purposes including teaching, studying, meetings and extra curricular activities."
Funding for the classroom renovations includes $200,000 from The Collins Foundation; $100,000 from the William G. Gilmore Foundation; $300,000 from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation; $50,000 from the Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust; and $25,000 from the Wessinger Foundation. The remaining costs were covered by the college.
In addition to the renovation, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently awarded Linfield $148,000 to expand equipment and staff in the high fidelity nursing simulation laboratory. The nursing simulation lab is critical to nursing education, providing students with realistic experiences in health crises without fear of making a critical mistake that could harm a patient.
Students from populations that are typically underrepresented in the nursing profession – such as men and minorities – will have more opportunities at Linfield as the result of a $120,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The funds will provide scholarships to 12 students from groups who are underrepresented in the field. The scholarships will be awarded to students who enroll in Linfield's 18-month accelerated program, increasing that enrollment from the current 48 students to 60.
Linfield has become a leader in recruitment of minority students into nursing as a result of significant grants from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Linfield has established a program of services and activities designed to recruit and retain students from underrepresented populations, particularly from the Hispanic community.
"These grants will help Linfield in its effort to increase nursing workforce diversity by providing scholarships that will enhance our ability to recruit and retain students from populations underrepresented in nursing," Saucier said.