Hospitals are faced with an unprecedented critical nursing shortage that is predicted to worsen, and a partnership between Dignity Health and Charles Drew University aims to diversify and grow the nursing workforce of the future.
Nationwide, hospitals are faced with an unprecedented critical nursing shortage that is predicted to worsen. In order to diversify and grow the future nursing workforce, Dignity Health has partnered with Los Angeles-based Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).
A 2021 American Association of Colleges of Nursing study found that, although interest in nursing programs is strong, 80,521 qualified applications were not accepted at schools of nursing due primarily to a shortage of clinical sites, faculty and resource constraints. The partnership will expand access to quality education and training by adding faculty and resources that help CDU, one of the nation’s leading educators of Black and other underrepresented minority nurses, grow its enrollment. CDU is one of the nation’s four historically Black medical schools.
“In addition to clinical excellence, our students are focused on social justice and health equity for underserved populations in our surrounding communities in South Los Angeles and around the world who are affected by health disparities,” said David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at CDU. “Expanding our program helps increase their impact and the likelihood that diverse patients have access to a provider who looks like them.”
Studies show that having access to a provider with shared lived experience helps improve trust and outcomes, yet only 22.2% of Black adults reported being of the same race as their health care provider compared to 73.8% of White adults. Dignity Health and CDU will establish mentorship programs for diverse high school students and build relationships with pre-college educators and guidance counselors to help ensure that students know their options and the prerequisite coursework necessary for a career in nursing.
“In our Southern California Division alone, we employ 10,000 nurses that care for over a million people every year,” said Julie J. Sprengel, President and CEO of Dignity Health’s Southern California Division. “Together with Charles R. Drew, we’re helping to remove systemic barriers and create a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”
In addition to expanding capacity at CDU, the partnership seeks to drive early interest in nursing careers among students from under-resourced or underrepresented groups. Dignity Health and CDU will establish mentorship programs for diverse high school students and build relationships with pre-college educators and guidance counselors to help ensure that students know their options and the prerequisite coursework necessary for a career in nursing.
“As one of the state’s leading providers of Medi-Cal services, this partnership is an extension of Dignity Health’s larger commitment to increasing culturally competent health care providers,” said Sprengel.