(WXYZ) — Patient care continues to suffer as hospitals and medical facilities face nurse shortages both in Michigan and across the country.
But, many hospitals in the state are working to enroll more nursing students and create a more attractive career path.
Janean Collins is a medical assistant at Henry Ford Health. She loves interacting with her patients. In fact, it's her passion for patient care that finally made the 45-year-old pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
"We do need more nurses. They step in when us as medical assistants can't be there because their scope of practice is a lot broader," she said.
Before the pandemic, Janean tried enrolling in a nursing program many times, but she was put on a waiting list due to financial challenges, and she hit other roadblocks.
"There are a lot of people now that are trying to step up as far as companies and schools," she said.
One of them is the newly-merged health systems, Spectrum and Beaumont, who recently announced a $19 million nursing scholarship program with Grand Valley State University. The plan is to hire over 500 nurses in the next six years.
Shawn Ulreich with Spectrum Health said people have to be accepted into the nursing program and can then get a grant up to $20,000.
What's more, existing students will also be eligible for the grant, and once the two-year program is completed, job placements will be up for grabs.
"We are now able, with the gift, to increase the nursing facility, increase clinical placements, and thereby increase our capacity by a certain number of students," Dr. Lola Coke said.
Besides education, a lot more is being done to retain nurses, from offering better pay, to setting career goals, and providing a safe work environment.
"We also have certain badges that we put on the back of the ID badges nurses have. It's called a staff duress, and if the staff is feeling threatened in any way, they can press the badge and our security team arrives at the location," Ulreich said.
Details are expected to be announced in the coming months on the scholarship program with GVSU, Beaumont and Spectrum.