Cleveland Foundation Receives Grant to Address Nursing Shortage in Ohio

$200,000 award plus $210,000 in local funding to increase number of working nurses through online teaching

Release Date: 08.31.2010

The Cleveland Foundation has been chosen as one of nine foundations nationwide to receive funding from Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), a national initiative to find innovative ways to create an appropriately sized nursing workforce with the skills necessary to meet the changing demands of the 21st-century patient population.

The foundation has been awarded a two-year grant of $200,000 to address Ohio’s nursing shortage by expanding the number of nurse educators. The grant will be matched by $210,000 in local funding. The Cleveland Foundation forged local partnerships with The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and the nursing schools at Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, and Ursuline College to create solutions for tackling nursing workforce issues specific to Northeast Ohio.

Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation, PIN has provided support to local foundations for five years and aims to discover models that work and can be replicated nationally. The program provides assistance to local and regional philanthropies to develop strategies in their communities for creating and sustaining a viable nursing workforce.

Robert Eckardt, Dr.PH, senior vice president for programs and evaluation at the Cleveland Foundation, explained that the situation is particularly dire for Northeast Ohio. The health care industry is the second-largest employer in the region, with nurses constituting the greatest segment of the workforce. “With 40 percent of Ohio’s practicing nurses expected to leave the field in the next 10 years, there will be a significant impact on our health care system and our local economy if we don’t move quickly and create a pipeline to fill those positions,” Eckardt said.

Susan Taft, Ph.D., associate professor in Kent State University’s College of Nursing, has piloted an innovative solution to the bottleneck that has occurred as a result of limited numbers of full-time nursing faculty. Nurses with master’s degrees working outside of academia will be given the flexibility to teach online courses rather than traveling to traditional classes, with the goal of increasing the number of non-traditional nurse educators available to teach non-clinical aspects of nursing courses. By increasing the number of available faculty, more nursing students will receive the training they need to enter the workforce.

PIN has invested $12 million in these efforts nationwide. During the program’s first four years, 88 foundation partners in 32 states established more than 300 local partnerships among nursing organizations, private and public funders, and workforce development boards to address the nursing and nurse faculty shortage. Nearly 100 private philanthropic organizations in 37 states are now involved.

For more information about PIN, visit www.partnersinnursing.org.

Additional information and updates will be shared via Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PIN10.

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s second-largest today, with assets of $1.8 billion and 2009 grants of $79 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. Currently the foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs: economic transformation (including advanced energy and globalization), public school improvement, human services and youth development, neighborhoods and housing, and arts advancement.
 
For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit ClevelandFoundation.org. Visit the Cleveland Foundation Twitter profile at http://twitter.com/CleveFoundation.

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The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation (Mt. Sinai Foundation) is a conversion foundation created from endowment dollars from the sale of the nonprofit Mt. Sinai Medical Center (Cleveland) to a for-profit company in 1996. Based on the legacy of the hospital, which served as a superior teaching and research center as well as an exemplary provider of medical care, the Foundation’s mission is to assist Greater Cleveland’s organizations and leaders in improving the health and well-being of the Jewish and general communities now and for generations to come, with particular focus on urban health, academic medicine/bioscience, and health policy. Of importance to this project is the commitment that the Foundation has made to nursing as a legacy of the fact that from 1915 to 1970, thousands of nurses were educated through the hospital-based Mt. Sinai School of Nursing. www.mtsinaifoundation.org.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. www.rwjf.org.

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Founded in 1997, Northwest Health Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that seeks to advance, support, and promote the health of the people of Oregon and southwest Washington. We achieve our mission through a variety of means, including grantmaking, technical assistance and training, convening, commissioning research, and supporting policy advocacy. www.nwhf.org.

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Kent State University’s College of Nursing is ranked as the largest nursing program in the state. In addition, Modern Healthcare ranks the program as the fourth largest in the nation. Through teaching, research, and service activities at the local, regional, national, and international levels, faculty has worked to improve the delivery of health care and has prepared 43 percent of the region’s nursing workforce. www.kent.edu/nursing