HCA Healthcare Has Committed $300 Million To Improve Nursing Education: Here Are The Details

On May 8, HCA Healthcare pledged more than $300 million to expand its portfolio of nurse training facilities and initiatives, including its multi-campus Galen College of Nursing, based in Louisville, Kentucky, and its network of HCA Healthcare Centers for Clinical Advancement.

Approximately $200 million will fund the expansion of Galen College of Nursing with $136 million funding new HCA Healthcare Centers for Clinical Advancement.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review HCA Healthcare is the largest health system in the United States, employing approximately 283,000 staff in 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 other healthcare facilities in 20 states and the United Kingdom.

“Expanding our clinical education agenda, including HCA Healthcare’s Centers for Clinical Advancement nationwide, is a large part of our overall nursing strategy,” said Sammie Moiser, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, in a statement announcing the decision. “Providing a safe and realistic learning environment for our nurses promotes clinical skill readiness and development. We are excited to open these new locations and will continue to invest in our nurses as they provide great care for our patients and communities each and every day.”

Galen College of Nursing enrolls more than 12,000 students, including 3,000 HCA Healthcare employees. It has 19 campuses and an online option.

Galen’s programs include a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), associate degree in nursing (ADN), master of science in nursing (MSN), and a nurse educator certificate.

In 2020, HCA Healthcare purchased Galen College and funded its rapid expansion, including new campuses in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, and Utah.

Among other partners, Galen College collaborates with Fisk University, one of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). HCA Healthcare has already pledged $10 million to fund scholarships to HBCUs.

The HCA Healthcare Centers for Clinical Advancement are not nursing schools but rather facilities for advanced training for practicing nurses. New graduates can enroll in nurse residency programs at the centers, while experienced nurses can earn advanced certifications.

These centers include virtual and face-to-face learning spaces, simulation centers, and high-fidelity interactive patient mannequins, among other resources.

“We believe supporting nurses in their practice through available and effective clinical education helps drive the delivery of high-quality patient care,” said HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen in the statement. “We are proud of the resources and education opportunities we offer our nurses and are committed to helping train the next generation.”

HCA leaders said the gift was designed to recruit and train more nurses as a way of helping to address the nation’s ongoing nursing shortage.

HCA Healthcare aims to invest in the recruitment and training of high-quality nursing professionals, while also expanding care teams to include positions such as licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs), paramedics, and nurse externs.

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According to the statement, the funding also will help support HCA Healthcare’s efforts to expand the diversity of the nursing workforce.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in 2021, undergraduate and graduate nursing programs denied almost 100,000 applications due to a shortage of faculty, preceptors, and clinical and classroom space. Therefore, expanding training capacity is widely viewed as a powerful tool for alleviating these shortages.

HCA Healthcare’s investment may inspire other well-funded health systems to increase investments in nursing education. Additional investments may be more likely if they can effectively reduce the nursing shortage, either for the sector or for HCA Healthcare as the funder.

Furthermore, if these efforts can reach underrepresented groups and increase their presence in the nursing workforce, the increased diversity can positively impact nursing effectiveness and patient outcomes.

According to the AACN, without ambitious investment in nursing education and retaining nurses in the healthcare workforce, the nursing shortage could have near-catastrophic health impacts in the United States.

The number of medically underserved areas could grow dramatically, staffed hospital beds could decline, and healthcare costs could increase even further. Any of these outcomes can reduce access to healthcare at a time when, with the aging population, the demand for healthcare will continue to grow.

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