News & Announcements

Phoebe and Albany Technical College Sign Agreement to Enhance Nurse Education and Training

Albany, Ga. – Phoebe and Albany Technical College (ATC) are working together to address a growing nursing shortage by increasing the number of graduates from the Associate of Science Nursing (ASN) Program at Albany Tech.  “The nursing shortage is a national issue, and it’s only getting worse.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 176,000 openings for registered nurses every year for the remainder of this decade, and there simply aren’t enough nursing graduates to fill those positions,” said Evelyn Olenick, DNP, RN, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Chief Nursing Officer.  “We must be creative and unwavering in our efforts train, recruit and retain quality nurses.”

Phoebe and Albany Tech formalized a plan to address the issue in southwest Georgia when Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer Scott Steiner and Albany Technical College President Dr. Anthony Parker signed a donation agreement Monday in the Phoebe Simulation and Innovation Center.  “The best way we can address the nursing shortage in southwest Georgia is to make sure we are graduating more nurses who are from this area and will likely stay in this area to work.  Phoebe’s support will allow us to expand our ASN program, improving healthcare in our region and boosting our economy as well,” Dr. Parker said.

As outlined in the agreement, Phoebe will fund the salary and benefits for a full-time biology instructor and one-half of one full-time nursing instructor at Albany Tech.  “This is a smart investment for Phoebe.  When we can help enhance and expand nurse education in our region, it doesn’t take long for us to reap the benefits.  We need a continuous pipeline, providing us with nurses who are prepared to meet the healthcare needs of our patients, and we are excited anytime we can work with an educational partner like Albany Tech to make that happen,” Steiner said.

Phoebe will also provide access to clinical rotations for Albany Tech ASN students and provide access to the Phoebe Simulation and Innovation Center for ATC students and instructors.  “No other hospital in Georgia has a center like this.  It represents a $5.3 million investment in patient safety and workforce development.  The training we do here ensures our staff members have the competencies required to provide safe, high-quality care,” said Tracy Suber, Ed.N, RN, Phoebe Assistant Vice President of Nursing Education.  “Collaborating with Albany Tech is a win-win.  We look forward to helping educate and train their students, and we believe many of those students will want to work for Phoebe after seeing our facilities and learning the level of care we provide,” Suber added.

For its part, ATC agrees to use the support it gets from Phoebe to increase its number of ASN graduates.  Currently, the program enrolls about 80 students per year.  The goal is to increase that by 25% to 100 students.  “This partnership will not only allow us to enroll more students, we believe it will help us significantly improve our retention rate by providing our students greater one-on-one attention with instructors,” said Emmett Griswold, Ed.D, Albany Technical College Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  “We prepare our students well.  Our ASN graduates have a nearly 100% pass rate on their National Council Licensure Examination, and we look forward to preparing even more southwest Georgians to have successful nursing careers, right here at home.”

Albany Tech’s ASN program also has a 100% job placement rate for its graduates.