Health Care Industry Changes Force Ohio to Close Nursing Careers Program
Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C. (which operated in the five-county area surrounding Cleveland) recruited economically disadvantaged African American Native American Indian and Asian students into the program.
In June 1995, Project L.I.N.C. was forced to close its doors because of dramatic changes in the health care environment.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Ladders in Nursing Careers Program national program.
During the grant period, Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C.:
- Worked in partnership with a wide range of organizations in the five-county area surrounding Cleveland.
- Obtained commitments from 14 nursing schools, three technical colleges and 13 health care organizations to participate in the program.
- Obtained commitment from the Ohio League for Nursing and the Cleveland Scholarship Program to provide a series of educational workshops for students.
- Enrolled 14 students in nursing programs; 10 of the 14 students were minority.
RWJF provided two grants totaling $197,853 to fund the project from February 1993 to June 1995.
In Greater Cleveland, the hospital nurse vacancy rate averaged 8 percent, approaching 12 percent several times over the 10-year period 198292. Minorities had been traditionally underrepresented in the Cleveland nursing work force. Although African Americans account for 47 percent of the overall population in the metropolitan area, and Hispanics make up another 5 percent of the population, only 7.4 percent of the health care professionals in Cleveland's hospitals were minority.
However, more than 35 percent of the low-paying housekeeping, dietary, and nursing aide positions were held by minorities. Current enrollments in nursing schools offered little promise of correcting the imbalance. A 1992 survey of deans of nursing schools in Northeast Ohio revealed that less than 3 percent of students enrolled in nursing programs were African American. The entry- and mid-level health care worker, who in Cleveland was predominantly minority, represented a rich, relatively untapped resource of highly motivated people looking to advance within their profession.
Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C. worked in partnership with a wide range of organizations in the five-county area surrounding Cleveland. The partnership created a broad-based steering committee composed of representatives from hospitals, nursing homes, nursing schools, and professional groups. They obtained commitments from 14 nursing schools, three technical colleges, and 13 health care organizations to participate in the program, and from the Ohio League for Nursing and the Cleveland Scholarship Program to provide a series of educational workshops for students. However, the only outside funding Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C. was able to secure was $60,000 per year for three years from the J.P. Murphy Foundation of Cleveland.
Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C.'s three major goals were to:
- Increase the cultural diversity of the work force at all levels within health care settings.
- Assist employees in overcoming social, academic, and/or financial barriers to career advancement.
- Provide health care organizations with a strategy to meet their long-term work force needs.
Before Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C. shut its doors in June 1995, 14 students had enrolled, all in nursing programs; 10 of the 14 students were minority. The project closed because of dramatic changes in the health care environment. Downsizing and mergers, nursing layoffs, constrained budgets, and an uncertain future made it very difficult for health care organizations to commit resources to Project L.I.N.C. According to Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C. staff, "the principle shortfall of the project was the inability of many [health care] employers to follow through with their early intent to participate."
Project L.I.N.C. attempted to overcome this employer reluctance using several strategies:
- Opening the program to allied health occupations and advanced practice nursing.
- Encouraging employers for whom employee replacement costs were an obstacle to participation, to sponsor a part-time employee.
- Marketing L.I.N.C. to chief executives.
- Targeting home health care agencies and other community-based agencies.
After the project closed in June 1995, Greater Cleveland Hospital Association continued to work with seven L.I.N.C. students enrolled in nursing programs to secure funding to compete their education.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Greater Cleveland Project L.I.N.C.
Greater Cleveland Hospital Association (Cleveland, OH)
Dates: February 1993 to December 1993
Dates: January 1994 to June 1995
Report prepared by: Karin Gillespie
Reviewed by: Patricia Patrizi
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Original Program Officer: Polly M. Seitz
Current Program Officer: Rosemary Gibson