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College Receives $440,000 from Kaiser to Help Nursing Students Pay Tuition

February 18, 2005-- Students in a one-year accelerated nursing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University will have part of their tuitions paid through a $440,000 gift from Kaiser Permanente in an effort to attract quality nurses quickly and ease a severe staffing shortage.

The program covers up to two-thirds the cost of tuition for 23 students. In exchange, the students will work at a Kaiser hospital for two years after graduation. The College received the money in February, and student recipients of the funds will be selected by the end of April.

Students selected for the forgivable loan program will perform clinical rotations and receive mentoring from Kaiser Permanente nursing staff during their college work.

“We are proud to be partners with the Kaiser Foundation,” said Mount St. Mary’s President Jacqueline Powers Doud. “Their generous financial assistance to our students will enable Mount St. Mary’s to prepare more nurses in a time of great need in our community.”

Maureen Casamiquela, regional program manager of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Patient Care Services, said Mount students will be embraced by Kaiser. “With the forgivable loan program, we are doing something totally unique to help students become Kaiser Permanente nurses,” she said. “It is one of the many innovative initiatives we have implemented to address the California nursing shortage, which is a huge crisis.”

According to the California Healthcare Association, California ranks 49th in the nation in terms of the number of RNs per capita – with 585 RNs per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 798 RNs per 100,000 population. Only Nevada has fewer RNs per capita than California.

Mary Wickman, chair of the College’s Department of Nursing, said the partnership makes good sense. “For the new graduate, this program offers a winning combination of having their education paid for while gaining a first work experience in a quality healthcare organization.”

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