Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), historically one of four black medical schools in the country, and CommonSpirit Health are addressing America’s nursing shortage through a partnership aimed at growing and diversifying the nursing workforce. are.
Cathy Sanford, chief nursing officer at CommonSpirit, parent company of Dignity Health, said, “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had nursing shortages due to retiring nursing workers and the care needs of our aging population. predicted.” “Nursing schools do not have the capacity to train nurses fast enough to replace those who leave the profession.”
The partnership between Los Angeles-based CDU and CommonSpirit Health, which is headquartered in Chicago, will add faculty and resources to help the school increase its enrollment. School officials said the school currently has around 500 students going through its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
CommonSpirit operates 140 hospitals and more than 1,500 care sites in 21 states, while Dignity Health has 18 Southern California hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers and advanced imaging centers throughout Southland, Central California, and the Central Coast.
The need for more nurses is very real.
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, primarily due to a lack of faculty, clinical sites and resources.
Professor Charity Masamalia Chimwala-Selico, who takes classes at CDU, says it’s easier for patients to trust a provider who “shares a cultural understanding.”
“Professors who look like us and have a similar background experience in nursing and bring us into these places are important because it creates community,” she said.
David M. Carlisle, the school’s president and CEO, said that CDU is focused on clinical excellence, but seeks to promote social justice and health equality for underserved populations here in Southern California and around the world.
“The expansion of our program helps to increase their impact and the possibility that diverse patients can have access to a provider who looks like them,” Carlisle said in a statement.
Studies show that having access to a medical provider with shared life experiences helps improve trust and health outcomes. The Urban Institute, which looked at the results of an April 2021 survey of more than 9,000 adults, found that only 22.2% of black adults had a regular provider of the same race, compared to 73.8% of white adults.
The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science offers approximately 20 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in medicine and healthcare and is ranked as the No. 2 school in the nation for student/faculty diversity.
CommonSpirit’s Southern California Division President and CEO Julie J. “In our Southern California division alone, we employ 10,000 nurses who care for more than a million people each year,” Sprengel said. “With Charles R. Drew, we are helping to remove systemic barriers and create a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”
Understaffing has become a major concern among Southern California nurses as they bargain for new labor contracts.
Nurses at Sentinella Hospital Medical Center held an informational sit-in at Inglewood Hospital last month, claiming they were understaffed, overworked and struggling to provide adequate patient care. Nurses from the City of Hope also voiced staff concerns over silent protests at the Duarte facility in March.