The School of Nursing and Health Professions received a grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education to increase its capacity and better meet the health care workforce needs of the region.

The School received $557,744 through MDHE’s MoExcels workforce initiative to establish a Center of Excellence in Applied Health Care Learning (CEAHL). The initiative includes expanding classrooms sizes and simulation laboratory space, enhancing technology in the labs and promoting job exploration opportunities to high school and college students who may be interested in the health care field. The funding will be matched locally with donations from Mosaic Life Care, Mosaic Auxiliary, the Heartland Foundation and the Missouri Western State University Foundation.

“Creating partnerships with community and regional organizations so we can discover innovative ways to recruit, train and retain nurses and other health-care professionals is vital in this competitive job market,” said Dr. Mark Laney, CEO of Mosaic Life Care. “We want to make sure we keep our highly trained and sought-after caregivers here in our community and offer them opportunities to learn and grow.”

The partnership will increase the number of graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Missouri Western by 15%. It will also increase intended majors in all health-related fields by 5% and increase Master of Science in Nursing admissions by 10%.

The CEAHL will allow Missouri Western to expand partnerships with regional health care providers for clinical education, ensuring that the University’s education and training programs are responsive to current and future workforce needs.

“One of the things that sets Missouri Western apart is our statewide mission of applied learning, and this partnership will build on that foundation by providing more real-world learning opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Crystal Harris, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions. “There is a critical shortage of health care workers in the region, and our goal is to address that shortage by developing a pipeline of local talent with the required skills and training to succeed in the workplace.”

When the expansion of the simulation lab is complete, the lab will be available for community use to provide education and job exploration opportunities for visiting high school students and employees of community partners.

During construction, the School’s faculty offices relocated to the Bond Science and Technology Center’s second floor. Planned completion of the construction on the third floor of Murphy Hall is scheduled for December 2019.