From left, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health CEO and president Joanne M .Conroy, MD and Colby-Sawyer president Sue Stuebner.
Colby-Sawyer College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health in Lebanon (D-HH) plan to expand their existing partnership, which trains registered nurses, by exploring additional areas of health sciences education and training.
The expansion comes at a time when NH is experiencing a significant shortage of the health professionals, a national issue which many states are now encountering. These labor challenges, combined with a growing demand for services across the system, underscore the importance of developing a strong pipeline for highly trained, quality health professionals.
Currently, Colby-Sawyer graduates 30 to 40 nursing undergraduates a year, 80 percent of whom accept positions in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system. Under the enhanced partnership arrangement, the college aims to increase the number of undergraduate nurses to 100-150 per cohort over the span of five to seven years.
The college is also planning to expand into an associates of health sciences degree, designed for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health employees, as well as programs in mental health and substance abuse counseling, a respiratory therapy bachelor’s completion program, social work, new focus areas for the MSN program, and, potentially, programs for family nurse practitioners and in physical therapy or occupational therapy.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system will continue to provide clinical opportunities for Colby-Sawyer students and participate in the planning processes to ensure new programs will address pressing workforce needs.
Colby-Sawyer College has been preparing nurses at the Bachelor of Science level since 1981. Today, it offers three degrees in nursing – a BS in Nursing, a Master’s of Science in Nursing with an emphasis on clinical nurse leadership, and an RN to BS program. For the past three years, Colby-Sawyer nurses have achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which compares to 85.1 percent nationally. A critical component of the college’s success is its partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.