Hartwick nursing students at work.

Clark Foundation Grant Helps Expand Capacity of Hartwick Nursing

September 11, 2012

Hartwick College is the recipient of a grant in the amount of $250,000, payable over two years, from The Clark Foundation. The funding will be used to acquire the next generation of distance education and simulation equipment for the Hartwick Department of Nursing to help address an ongoing need for nurses in rural parts of the state. Data from the New York State Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the demand for RNs in the state will exceed supply by 37,000 by 2015.

Only eight percent of New York State's registered nurses work in rural counties. According to the Hospital Association of New York, registered nurses are the most difficult health care positions to retain, and rural health care organizations have greater difficulty attracting and retaining nurses. At Bassett Healthcare Network, the vacancy rate has climbed from a low of five percent to 11 percent over the last year and is expected to return to the pre-recession level of 15 percent.

"The Board of Directors of The Clark Foundation is delighted to be supporting Hartwick so we can begin to immediately address the nursing shortage in rural regions," noted Jane Forbes Clark, President of The Clark Foundation. "The graduates of Hartwick's nursing program are very talented individuals who are needed urgently, and we feel that this program will help sustain the nursing needs well into the future."

"At Bassett Healthcare we must to continue to prepare local nurses who have ties to our communities and will stay and grow in our local hospitals," explained Connie A. Jastremski, RN, MS, MBA, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services for Bassett Healthcare. "The quality nursing program at Hartwick College is now enhanced with new simulator technology which will provide the students and our future nurses with the leading edge skills they need so that they will be better prepared to care for the very sick patients in our hospitals."

"These high-end simulators have pulses, they can speak, they have bowel and heart sounds. You can program them to pretty much do anything. They are so much more lifelike than practicing on a mannequin," explained Hartwick Professor of Nursing and Department Chair Jeanne-Marie Havener. "Simulation technology like this allows for our students to keep up with a wide range of practice, so we can ensure our students are much better prepared for the realities of the healthcare field."

The new simulator technology, as well as a new electronic medical records system and additional distance learning capacity, will enhance the faculty's ability to offer flexible learning options, meet the needs of students in multiple locations, to collaborate on the delivery of instruction to pre-service nursing students, and to offer continued training to nurses practicing throughout the region.

In New York State, and the upstate region in particular, there is a need to expand educational options for prospective nurses. The grant from The Clark Foundation will help the Hartwick College Nursing Department expand its capacity, training more nurses in upstate New York who are more likely to live and work in upstate New York. This is vital because the upstate and central New York region has experienced a 24.6 percent drop in nurse graduation rates; primarily due to school closings and a lack of capacity in existing programs. The NYS Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Panel on the Nursing Workforce Shortage recommended increasing the capacity of the educational pipeline.

The Clark Foundation, founded in 1931, is one of the largest charitable foundations in the United States. Under the leadership and guidance of Miss Clark, the Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, institutions, and programs in New York City and Cooperstown, New York.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable

Contact: Christopher Lott 
Phone: 607-431-4030