Rutgers launches nursing program focusing on LTC, non-hospital care

Nursing students will be encouraged to work in non-hospital settings through a new, first-of-its-kind residency program at Rutgers University.

The “out-of-hospital” initiative will place nursing students in settings such as skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, home care, primary care and other geriatric settings for two semesters. That non-hospital focus is in response to shifting care settings compelled by the Affordable Care Act, Rutgers officials said.

“Typically, academic nursing education has not assumed this responsibility as most graduates in the past tended to enter the hospital workforce,” said William Holzemer, dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing. “With the changes in the healthcare delivery, a great deal of care is occurring out of the hospital and the need for qualified, competent and caring nurses for these settings is growing.”

The “out-of-hospital” initiative is believed to be the first program of its kind, Rutgers officials noted.

The program will help answer a call for more healthcare workers as baby boomers continue to age and require more care, Rutgers said in a press release. Research has shown at least 2.5 million additional long-term care workers will be needed by 2030 to keep up with growing demand.

The new residency program is funded with a $4.7 million grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust, a nonprofit foundation that focuses on health, welfare and education of nursing students. The first residents in the new program are expected to begin work at their assignments in fall 2017.