Colby-Sawyer, DHMC to expand partnership

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 4/16/2019 10:09:37 PM
Modified: 4/16/2019 10:14:33 PM

LEBANON — Colby-Sawyer College in New London is expanding its existing partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to meet the growing need for nurses and other health care professionals.

In a news release on Tuesday, the college and hospital announced a goal of increasing the number of nursing undergraduates at Colby-Sawyer from about 40 to between 100 and 150 over the next five to seven years. About 80 percent of those who graduate now go on to employment at DHMC.

The college also is planning to expand its undergraduate degree offerings in a wide range of health services fields, including mental health and substance abuse counseling, social work, a respiratory therapy bachelor’s completion program and possible programs for family nurse practitioners and in physical or occupational therapy, the release said.

Another area of the partnership with DHMC will be an associate of health sciences degree designed for DHMC employees.

“Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system will continue to provide clinical opportunities for Colby-Sawyer students and participate in the planning processes to ensure new programs will address pressing workforce needs,” the release said.

The planned expansion of programs reflects a growing need in New Hampshire and around the nation for health professionals.

The release from the college and medical center cites numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicate by 2026 the need for registered nurses will grow by 14 percent, mental health and substance abuse counselors by 16.7 percent, nurse practitioners by 35 percent, physical therapists by 23 percent and occupational therapists by 19 percent.

Colby-Sawyer’s current arrangement with DHMC combines the school’s nursing degree with clinical experience at the hospital with “with hands-on learning in campus classrooms and laboratories, as well as individual and group research,” the release states.

“Colby-Sawyer is extremely appreciative of the existing partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock,” said Colby-Sawyer President Sue Stuebner. “We look forward to graduating more students in a variety of health science fields who in turn can assist the health system as it faces shortages in several areas.”

“Nurses are key members of our care team and are at the core of the patient experience,” said D-H CEO and President Joanne Conroy. “As the demand for our services grows, so does our need for quality nurses and other health professionals. I look forward to the growth of our relationship with Colby-Sawyer. It will fill a vital need here but, more importantly, it will benefit the patients and families we serve.”

Meanwhile, Vermont Technical College, the Community College of Vermont and Northwestern Medical Center are partnering to create an expanded nursing program in a new facility in downtown St. Albans, VtDigger reported recently.

The two state colleges and health provider are planning to occupy two floors in a soon-to-be-built mixed-used building on the corner of Congress and Main streets being developed by the Burlington developer Nedde Real Estate. The building is expected to be ready by the fall of 2020.

Vermont Tech’s nursing programs at the new location will include up to 18 practical nursing and 27 associate degree seats, according to hospital officials. Graduates will be eligible to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses.

Information from VtDigger was used in this report.


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