South Carolina is one of seven states projected to have a shortage of registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. South Carolina’s nursing shortage is expected to top 10,000; it’s one of only four states expected to have that significant a shortage.
A collaboration between Clemson and the Greenville Health System is designed to address that shortage. The Clemson University Nursing building, an education and research facility housing an expansion of Clemson’s baccalaureate nursing program at GHS, opened in August.
The new building allowed the School of Nursing to increase first-year enrollment from 64 in fall 2015 to 173 in fall 2018. By fall 2021, total enrollment in the baccalaureate program is anticipated to top 700, an increase from 256 in fall 2015.
“The collaboration will not only expand our enrollment, but will also integrate teaching and clinical practice in innovative ways that will positively impact nursing education and patient outcomes,” said Kathleen Valentine, director of Clemson’s School of Nursing.
Nursing students will take their general education and nursing foundation courses on Clemson’s main campus during their freshman and sophomore years. After that, they are placed into one of two cohorts: One will take nursing courses in Greenville under the guidance of Clemson faculty and complete clinical rotations across multiple GHS campuses; the other will take junior and senior nursing courses on Clemson’s main campus and complete clinical rotations at health systems across the Upstate, including GHS.
Graduate nursing students will have priority clinical rotations within GHS to be prepared to care for rural and vulnerable populations.
“This innovative collaboration will help ensure that GHS and the entire region and beyond have high-quality nurses in spite of a nursing shortage,” said GHS President Spence Taylor.