McLaren-GVSU Partnership Gives Flint Nurses Chance to 'Do something bigger than myself'

McLaren Flint Registered Nurses Can Receive Higher Degrees Through a Diversity Grant at GVSU

Author: Jasmine Brown

McLaren Flint RN

This could have been my little nudge in the right direction to do something greater than myself and to be a benefit to the community.”

As many hospitals continue to see staffing shortages, McLaren Flint is able to attract and retain registered nurses with opportunities to continue education. With the hospital already offering current nurses tuition reimbursement, a blossoming partnership between McLaren Health Care and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has given three nurses at McLaren Flint an additional opportunity to have the majority of their tuition costs covered to continue their education.

Through the partnership, GVSU has obtained the Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) grant to help fund the tuition of nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minority groups. Through the program, nurses at McLaren can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and/or Doctor of Nursing Practice as a Health Systems Leader.

 “When I found out about the grant, I thought, maybe this could be my opportunity to do something bigger than myself. This is a huge discount for me to be able to further my education,” said Sojourner Green, RN, one of three McLaren Flint nurses who have been awarded funding from the NWD grant.

Green grew up in Flint and has been part of the community her entire life. After seeing the number of African American patients affected by COVID on her unit at the hospital, she wondered how she could help.

“I’ve never decided to leave here [Flint] – this has been home for me. During the pandemic, I was really surprised to see that there were so many African American patients who were affected by COVID on the unit where I worked. It really bothered me,” explained Green. “I was very happy when the opportunity came about and that Grand Valley had partnered with McLaren to give us a huge discount to be able to further our education.

“Right now, I’m going for my RN to BSN, which I hope to continue further to obtain my MSN. I want to do community health nursing in some capacity. This could have been my little nudge in the right direction to do something greater than myself and to be a benefit to the community.”

The NWD grant is made possible through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) providing $2.2 million in funding to GVSU with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. For eligibility, nurses must meet one of the following requirements: be from an underrepresented minority group; come from an educationally disadvantaged background, such as graduating from a high school that performs lower than the state average; or have an economic disadvantage, such as receiving public assistance or a household income below the average low-income. In addition to the HRSA funds, GVSU offers a number of student scholarships and McLaren offers tuition reimbursement.

This opportunity is open to McLaren RNs across the corporation. The nurses take classes through GVSU’s Kirkhof College of Nursing between the 2021 and 2024 academic years. The BSN program is online with some in-person practicum experiences. The MSN and Doctoral programs are hybrid, with students going to Grand Valley once a month while continuing the rest of their education online. In those two programs, nurses will receive practicum experience in-person within the McLaren organization.

The NWD grant is the second grant that McLaren and GVSU received from HRSA. In 2019, the academic-practice partnership was awarded the Advancing Nursing Workforce Education grant ($2.8 million, with 0% financed with non-governmental sources). McLaren hopes to provide more opportunity for nurses across the corporation for continued professional growth in the future.

“I think it is important for McLaren to give back to the community in this way, so that we can better serve our community and community members can see representation of themselves within the corporation,” said Green.

For more information on careers at McLaren Flint, visit