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University Health System Partners With Capella University to Close Skills Gap


Thu Oct 22 2015

University Health System Partners With Capella University to Close Skills Gap

University Health System (UHS), an academic medical center in San Antonio, Texas, is proactively addressing the nursing skills gap and promoting advanced competencies of its nursing staff through a partnership with education provider Capella University.

The pressure on upskilling nurses stems from a mandate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for nurse leaders to work collaboratively with academic institutions to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree (BSN) from 50 to 80 percent, and double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees by 2020. Highly educated nurses play a crucial role in maintaining patient safety and improving patient satisfaction. A recent study from the University of Michigan found that a 10 percent increase in BSN nurses was associated with lowering patient mortality by 10.9 percent. The study also found that patients receiving 80 percent or more of their care from BSN nurses had shorter lengths of stay and lower odds for readmission.


University Health System, a public hospital with a tight budget, is recognized as an American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Program. It is an organization committed to developing talent in all roles, and it regularly partners with higher education providers to meet training and education needs. Capella University provides the type of nursing education needed by hospital staff, and has a comprehensive portfolio of academic offerings that are well suited to meet the needs of all levels of education desired by UHS nurses. Capella’s online courses and competency-based curricula are designed specifically to meet the education needs of working adults.

In the nursing education partnership, University Hospital System leaders define education needs, and Capella’s curriculum is designed to meet those needs, thus narrowing the education-practice gap. Capella’s programs foster the achievement of competencies that IOM deems essential for the future of nurses: systems thinking; evidence-based practice; use of information technology; and emphasis on the complex interaction of health policy, patient safety, and quality and emerging priorities, such as care coordination and transitional care. Capella provided an affordable option for University Health System and flexible start dates to meet the goals of the organization and its workforce. Its suite of offerings meets learners where they are, with pathways and degrees at a variety of levels to suit their needs.

Since 2011, the number of BSN-educated nurses on staff at University Health System has increased by 10 percent, to 61.5 percent, which positions them to meet IOM recommendations. As a partner in this pursuit, Capella University is creating value for both employer and employee, through cost containment and competency-based education that goes above and beyond bridging the skills gap to a model where Capella and University Health Systems are aligned to solving strategic workforce issues together.

Editor’s Note: This post is excerpted from Bridging the Skills Gap: Workforce Development is Everyone’s Business.

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