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News » Baker College, Pine Rest partner to address Michigan’s nursing shortage

Baker College, Pine Rest partner to address Michigan’s nursing shortage

Baker College Pine Rest
Photo from Baker College

MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES — In an innovative move to combat Michigan’s nursing shortage, Baker College and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services have joined forces to offer substantial tuition assistance and employment opportunities to aspiring psychiatric nurses.

Tuition assistance up to $40,000

The newly formed partnership allows Baker College nursing students to enroll in the Pine Rest Academy for Nursing Students. 

Eligible students can receive up to $40,000 in tuition assistance in the form of forgivable loans.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pine Rest to offer this transformative scholarship program to our students,” said Maria McCormick, Baker College Dean of Nursing. 

“By providing students with financial assistance and guaranteed employment opportunities, we are empowering them to pursue their dreams.” 

Employment commitment requirement

In exchange for the tuition assistance, students commit to working at Pine Rest during their schooling and serving as a nurse there for two years after obtaining their Michigan nursing license.

“The true impact of the nursing shortage is felt by the people in our Michigan community who cannot access the care they need because there are not enough nurses,” said Gretchen Johnson, Pine Rest’s chief nurse executive. 

“That’s not a problem that will be solved by recruiting nurses from one local organization to another. It can only be solved by increasing the number of new nurses entering the field.” 

Bridging academics and experience

The partnership aims to provide a comprehensive educational experience bridging academic learning with practical psychiatric nursing experience

Students can complete Baker’s six-semester nursing program while gaining hands-on training at Pine Rest, one of the nation’s largest behavioral health providers.

By addressing financial barriers and offering employment pathways, the collaboration presents an enticing opportunity for students passionate about mental healthcare. 

It could prove instrumental in strengthening Michigan’s healthcare workforce with skilled psychiatric nurses prepared to serve communities in need.

Healthcare outsourcing initiatives in Michigan

The Baker College and Pine Rest partnership is part of a broader trend of healthcare outsourcing initiatives in Michigan aimed at addressing staffing shortages and improving access to care. 

The state has faced a persistent nursing shortage, with nearly 4 in 10 nurses planning to leave their jobs in the next year according to a recent University of Michigan study. Hospitals have over 27,000 current job openings, including nearly 8,500 open nursing positions, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association

To combat this crisis, healthcare providers are increasingly turning to staffing agencies, travel nurses, and partnerships with educational institutions to fill vacancies. 

Companies like EG Workforce Solutions and AllMedical provide healthcare staffing services across Michigan, placing nurses, therapists, and other medical professionals in hospitals and clinics. The state has also allocated funding for hospital staffing grants and nursing education to expand the talent pipeline.

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