Arizona’s largest health care provider and one of the largest districts of community colleges in the nation have teamed up to help alleviate a shortage of skilled health care workers in the state.
Phoenix-based Banner Health and the Maricopa Community College District are partnering to train qualified nurses, medical imaging, respiratory and radiation technologists, and other specialists. Banner is sponsoring 12 training programs at four of the district’s colleges — Gateway and South Mountain community colleges in Phoenix, and Mesa and Glendale community colleges.
"The purpose for these programs and wonderful partnerships . . . is to address the shortage of not only nurses, but other hard-to-fill clinical professions," said Sherrie Beardsley, administrator for the Banner Center for Health Careers.
Among the programs is the Banner Health Nurse Fellows, which pays the cost of tuition, books and fees of 90 nursing students per year at Gateway. The students commit to work for Banner for three years after completing the program, said Pat Harris, director of the district’s health care educational system.
After completing prerequisite classes at Gateway, students can finish a registered nursing degree in 16 months. Typical nursing course work takes two to three years to complete, Harris said.
By October, 120 nursing students will have enrolled in the program, and the program’s first graduating class will finish in March 2005.
Another program aims to meet growing demand for Spanish-speaking nurses.
The Bilingual Nurse Fellows program at Gateway and South Mountain colleges pays some expenses for nursing students who are proficient in Spanish and English.
Entry-level Banner employees are recruited through the Essential Career Pathways program.
More than 187 employees are enrolled in the program at Gateway and South Mountain.
Another program, the Banner East Valley Health Academy, allows high school students to take first-year nursing courses.
To learn more
For more information, call the Banner Center for Health Careers at (602) 747-8020 or the Maricopa Community College District at (480) 731-8240.