The BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation continues to invest in nursing education at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) College of Nursing. A grant from the Foundation will enable new faculty to be hired over the next three years to support increasing student enrollment as the college addresses a critical shortage of nurses in our state and beyond.
South Carolina can expect a 24 percent nursing staff shortage over the next few years, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, according to the federal Bureau of Health Workforce, the state has the lowest nurse-to-population ratio in the U.S.
The Foundation grant will help launch a new Nursing Faculty Fellows Pipeline Program beginning in August. This fellowship will provide additional mentorship, teaching and research preparation and will increase readiness for graduates to become future faculty. During the next three years, seven to 10 UofSC doctoral students will be accepted into the Faculty Pipeline Program and hired as faculty clinical “instructors.” After completion, the fellow is eligible to apply to be an assistant professor in the College of Nursing.
College of Nursing students are in the top 1% of NCLEX pass rates in the country and have had 100% pass rates on nurse practitioner board exams. The college is ranked No. 1 in graduate online nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. The college also has increased its pre-licensure junior class Bachelor of Science in nursing enrollment by 40% over the past six years. At the graduate level, it has increased overall enrollment by 130%.
“Because of our statewide and national reputation for excellence, there is a huge demand for our nursing program, with more applications at both the undergraduate and graduate level than we can admit,” says Dean Jeannette Andrews. “Our health system partners favor our expertly trained graduates, and we have a strong history of partnering on nursing workforce issues.”
Vital initiatives are underway at UofSC to address the future nursing workforce challenge in South Carolina. The number of patients and families across the state impacted from this pilot program’s additional workforce is projected in the thousands. With more than 11,000 alumni, partners, and faculty and staff, the College of Nursing will continue to lead the way in improving health outcomes and equity and solving the nursing shortage.
“While South Carolina faces challenges, the College of Nursing is rising to meet them. Learning from UofSC faculty recognized nationally and internationally for innovative research, our students become agile nurses who can thrive in a wide range of patient care settings,” says Andrews.
The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.