U.S. Dept. of Ed. Awards SHU Federal Grant for Nursing

$191,593 Congressionally-directed Grant for the Initiation of a Registered Nurse Degree Completion Program

Siena Heights University recently announced it received a $191,593 federal grant towards the establishment of its Registered Nurse degree completion program. The grant was one of only eight projects in Michigan funded in the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education account.


“Siena Heights University sets a high standard of academic excellence and is committed to providing students with a top-flight liberal arts education,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton). “The nursing initiative will allow Siena Heights to grow and expand, while maintaining its core principles and dedication to its students. I applaud Siena Heights for its commitment to Michigan and look forward to seeing the great things accomplished by this new program.”


“This is a great head start to get our nursing program off the ground,” said Siena Heights University President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD. “When we first announced our plans for a nursing program, we believed this would be a benefit not only to the local community, but to the entire state of Michigan. It’s encouraging to see Congress recognizes our efforts. We are extremely grateful for everyone’s efforts in securing this funding.”


The Siena Heights Nursing Program is approved for registered nurses to return to college and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The first class of RN to BSN nursing students will begin coursework in August 2008. Registered Nurses who are interested in earning a BSN degree are encouraged to contact Siena Heights.  


“The Siena nursing program is delighted with the Congressionally-directed grant,” Idczak said. “In part, the grant monies will be used to purchase nursing diagnostic equipment for RNs to utilize in the Advanced Assessment course. Siena Heights will also purchase electronic reference databases specifically for registered nurses to use in coursework as well as in practice.”


The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth predicts a shortfall of 7,000 nurses by 2010, and that number will increase to 18,000 by 2015. According to a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the nation is in the midst of a health care crisis. Currently 30 states, including Michigan, have nursing shortages.


There are currently no four-year nursing programs in Lenawee, Hillsdale or Jackson counties. In Lenawee County, there are more than 25 health care facilities, including two hospitals, and there are several more hospitals within a 50-mile radius. According to state statistics, the health care industry is Michigan’s largest employer.


“The monies of the Congressionally-directed grant fund approximately 50 percent of the RN to BSN program initiation with the other 50 percent for the RN to BSN program are coming from nongovernmental sources,” said SHU Director of Nursing Dr. Sue Idczak. “The dates for the funding will be from June 30, 2008, to Sept. 29, 2009.”


For more information on nursing at Siena Heights, please call Director of Nursing Dr. Sue Idczak at 517-264-7131.

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Gail A. Ryder

Associate Professor of Humanities


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Barbara Schmidtman '11

Nuclear Medicine Technologies Graduate; LMC Campus