PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey’s plan to graduate more nurses in Arizona — and help alleviate a shortage impacting hospitals here and across the country — could have 300 new nurses on the job by 2030.
The Governor plans to invest $25.7 million in a public-private partnership with Creighton University to expand the Accelerated Nursing Academy. Combined with $15.7 million from the university, the funds represent a major commitment to training the next generation of Arizona nurses.
Governor Ducey underscored his support for hospitals and health care workers last month in his 2022 State of the State. He outlined additional details in his executive budget.
“Frontline workers and hospital staff, especially nurses, have been critical in keeping Arizonans safe and healthy,” said Governor Ducey. “Nurses are caretakers, healers, comforters and everyday heroes. We will continue to support this important workforce.”
The proposed funding comes at a critical time when nearly a third of Arizona hospitals are experiencing critical nursing shortages.
And the shortage is projected to continue into 2030 unless more nurses are trained and retained in Arizona.
“An existing shortage of nurses has been exacerbated by the pandemic. There are also an unprecedented number of nurses leaving the profession from burnout and low morale,” said Dawna L. Cato, CEO of the Arizona Nurses Association. “The top priority of the Arizona Nurses Association is identifying and implementing solutions to the nursing workforce crisis facing the State. We support programs to increase the number of nurses graduating with quality clinical experiences and efforts to increase nurse retention.”
Nurses that graduate through the Creighton accelerated program are clinic-ready and committed to working at an Arizona health care institution for at least four years.
“I remain both humbled and incredibly excited about this investment and the opportunity it presents for the future of the health care workforce in Arizona,” said Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, president of Creighton University. “It creates more access, and ensures the introduction of highly trained Creighton nurses in areas where those positions are desperately needed.”
The Accelerated Nursing Academy is a top 50 program according to the U.S. News & World Report. Students complete the program in 12 months, compared to the standard 48 months.
Creighton nursing graduates have a high success rate for nursing certification exams. More than 94 percent of the program’s graduates pass the NCLEX nursing licensure exam.
In 2021, Governor Doug Ducey announced $60 million to support staffing at health care facilities that deploy proven techniques to decrease COVID-19 related hospitalizations, including administering monoclonal antibody treatments and offering vaccination at discharge.
In 2020, the Governor announced an investment of $25 million to bolster hospital staffing and reward frontline medical workers for their dedication to protecting fellow Arizonans. The funding was used to pay for higher staff costs due to current demand and allow hospitals to reward their existing direct care employees with bonuses. The Governor also directed an additional $60 million to provide more staffing at Arizona hospitals.