The Gerald “Jerry” Smith Academic-Practice Partnership established with the Renown Foundation will provide funding for up to 24 Orvis School of Nursing students each year. Scholarship recipients will receive funding for educational expenses including tuition, fees, and books throughout the nursing program. Students will also be afforded the opportunity to complete a paid apprenticeship at Renown Health, and a guaranteed job at the hospital following graduation and license obtainment.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous donors who have helped establish the Gerald ‘Jerry’ Smith Nursing Academic-Practice Partnership. These scholarships will not only impact the lives of the awarded nursing students, but positively influence the overall health of our community by ensuring that excellent healthcare professionals stay right here in northern Nevada,” Chief Development Officer for Renown Health Foundation Greg Walaitis said.
The partnership will also allow the Orvis School of Nursing, to increase its enrollment in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program by 8 additional places each year to support meeting the demand for nurses in Northern Nevada. Renown will provide clinical spaces, equipment and a nurse educator to help deliver education and training to students.
“Renown Health and the Orvis School of Nursing’s collaboration has been longstanding, and accomplishing this milestone affirms our partnership,” Chief Nurse Executive at Renown Health Melodie Osborn said. “At Renown, we take pride in placing an emphasis on education and career development. Partnering with the Orvis School of Nursing to create an academic pipeline is imperative for addressing the nursing shortage in Nevada.”
According to ‘Addressing Nevada’s Nursing Workforce Shortages: A Call to Action,’ a paper published by the Nevada Health Workforce Research Center (the Center) in December 2022, there is persistent, widespread health professional shortages in Nevada. Despite steady growth in the number of new nursing graduates from Nevada nursing programs and registered nurses moving to Nevada from other states, the Center estimated that Nevada currently needs over four thousand additional registered nurses to meet the national population-to-RN average.
In addition to announcing the academic-practice partnership, the Orvis School of Nursing announced its merging of the Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program with the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This merger will grow the Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program from 72 students to 96 students admitted twice per year, resulting in a total of 192 nursing students in the program each year. Not only will this merger increase the number of nurses entering the workforce each year, it will also provide additional opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning and strengthen their nursing skills before graduation.
“We are so excited to increase the number of nursing students who can enroll in the Orvis School of Nursing’s BSN program,” Interim Dean of the Orvis School of Nursing Cameron G. Duncan said. “It’s integral for nursing students to get hands-on experience in an environment that places an emphasis on quality and excellence, which is why we’re proud to collaborate with Renown. We are so appreciative of the generous donors who will make education possible for students who might otherwise not be able to pursue a career in nursing.”
Eligible students who are currently admitted into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and are interested in applying for the scholarship can find the application in Canvas. The scholarship awardees will be notified by July 31, 2023.