Kent State Nursing Student Hopes to Begin Career in Northeast Ohio
Kent State University nursing major Christina Hansen grew up just outside of Cleveland in Mentor, Ohio, so the idea of remaining in northeast Ohio after graduation has always appealed to her.
The 2016 graduate of Lake Catholic High School said she likes the idea of staying close to family, and figured she would remain in the area, at least until her student loans were paid off, perhaps even permanently.
A new venture between Kent State’s College of Nursing and University Hospitals of Cleveland could make Ms. Hansen’s decision to stay here all the more beneficial.
As part of the collaboration, UH will guarantee full-time jobs for 20 Kent State senior nursing majors and provide them each with $12,000 financial support to help defray the costs of their senior year, provided the students agree to work for UH for two years after graduation.
The program is called UH Scholars, and junior nursing majors such as Ms. Hansen are eligible to apply for the program’s inaugural year, which begins in the 2019 Fall Semester.
“It is something that really interests me. I am responsible for my own college costs, so that $12,000 work be very helpful to me,” she said.
Ms. Hansen, 20, has had clinical rotations at UH’s main campus since Spring Semester 2018, and began working at UH as a nursing assistant at the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood the following summer.
The idea of working for the same hospital system where she already is training and working as a nursing assistant is very attractive to Ms. Hansen.
“I think such a smooth transition would really benefit me to becoming a nurse,” she said.
Ms. Hansen said the time she already has spent at UH has been nothing but positive.
“I started working (as a nursing assistant) in the summer of 2018, after our first clinical,” she said. “I knew exactly what the nurses were doing and I understand the symptoms of a lot of medical issues and how to identify them.”
She credits that confidence to her clinical rotations at UH, where she is paired with a working, registered nurse on the floor of a hospital unit to train alongside.
As part of the new program, UH has agreed to provide additional clinical slots for students nurses from Kent State and will recruit more UH nurses to serve as clinical instructors for the student nurses.
Student nurses rotate through all medical units in the hospital, as part of their training, to gain experience working in a large variety of environments, including surgery, emergency, intensive care, pediatrics, orthopedics and general medical.
Tracey Motter, DPN, RN, associate dean in Kent State’s College of Nursing, said the need for more clinical rotation time at hospitals is key to graduating more bachelor’s degree nurses.
“We can add more university classes at our end, but there is only so much clinical time to go around,” Ms. Motter said.
When new collaboration reaches its full capacity, Kent State will be able to graduate 80 more bachelor’s degree nurses each year, she said.
According to the Nursing Forecaster of the Center for Health Affairs in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio’s nursing shortage is expected to increase to 2,850 by 2020. Baby Boomers are creating the job openings as they retire, and their aging demographic, at the same time, is creating the need for more nurses to attend to their health care needs. Nationally, the shortage is expected to reach one million nurses.
Which is positive job news for College of Nursing graduates, who already boast an impressive 99.6 percent employment rate within six months of graduation.
“I’ve had such a great experience working for UH,” Ms. Hansen said. “Everyone is so motivating and positive. It seems like it would be a great work environment for me to be in.”
Seven of the eight student nurses in her clinical group took the opportunity to work as nursing assistants at UH, when the jobs were offered.
The wages she earns in her job help Ms. Hansen pay for her living expenses and she is saving for a study abroad program this summer, where she will head to Florence, Italy.
Ms. Hansen said she was particularly looking forward to her current clinical rotation at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
“I like all aspects of nursing, but I’ve always wanted to do pediatrics,” she said. “I’m excited for my rotation in pediatrics.”
Whether she ends up in pediatrics or another area, Ms. Hansen said she is happy to have plenty of choices within the career of nursing.
“There’s just a lot of options,” she said.