New England College to expand nursing program with grant and third partner hospital

By Monitor staff

Published: 01-18-2023 1:11 PM

New England College will use a $2 million grant to triple the size of its nursing program, and it is adding a third partner hospital to the program.

The Henniker college announced Tuesday that Elliott Hospital will become a partner in its three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing program, meaning students can work at the hospital before getting licensed as part of getting the bachelor of science degree. Concord Hospital and Catholic Medical Center are already part of the NEC program.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster announced the $2 million grant to New England College, which will be used to renovate the 35,250-square-foot science facility at the school’s Henniker campus. This will allow the college to increase the program capacity for educating licensed nursing assistants and registered nurses from 40 students per cohort to 120 per cohort.

The moves come amid a nationwide shortage of nurses, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2022 study published in the journal “Health Affairs” found the total number of registered nurses in the country decreased by more than 100,000 from 2020 to 2021, the largest drop seen in four decades of record-keeping. A significant number of nurses leaving the workforce were under the age of 35, and most were employed in hospitals.

“Health care organizations rely on prepared, skilled staff to fulfill their missions, but many factors have complicated the ability to find the staff that is needed,” said Dr. Greg Baxter, President and CEO of Elliot Health System. “This partnership with New England College will help to build and sustain talent now and well into the future.”

New England College had 733 undergraduate students enrolled at its Henniker campus at the start of the fall 2022 term. Another 127 undergads were enrolled at the Manchester campus, which is home to the Institute of Art and Design. The school recently made the move to freeze its tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year.