Megan Hayes | News Editor
Over the past few decades, there has been a steady decline of healthcare workers, especially nurses, who play an integral role in providing care as well as rehabilitation for people experiencing medical or mental distress. As the years progress, more nurses age out of their jobs and retire, and due to many unforeseen circumstances (COVID being a main one), there are not enough new nurses coming in to hold their places in hospitals, care facilities, schools, and other locations. Due to this shortage in vital workers, in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont launched the CT Health Horizons project in August of 2022, which is a higher education initiative aimed to support lower income or minority students looking to go into nursing and behavioral health professions. In addition to providing financial help to these students, the program works hand in hand with guidance for the students and setting up a career path to go from universities to graduate schools, and then on to a career.
Eastern has been a recipient of the benefits of this project, receiving $1.2 million from the state of Connecticut as a grant. This will allow more expansion to the pre-existing program at Eastern to further outreach to more students, as well as organizations supporting the program. Additionally, Eastern’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is now supported by Hartford HealthCare, which alongside Eastern is planning to implement a “Clinical Simulation Lab” to help both students and faculty alike learn more about the nursing and medical fields, which will include skills labs, mannequins for demonstration, and more clinical tools. This lab will be placed into Windham Hospital by Hartford HealthCare during their upcoming renovations, right down the road from Eastern.
| "I am also pleased that we have Hartford HealthCare as our working partner on this initiative. With their support, our students will receive important hands-on instruction as well as invaluable clinical placements as they get ready for professional nursing positions. We will not only be part of the solution to the nursing shortage, Eastern will be preparing dozens of nursing students for rewarding, meaningful careers.”
-President Elsa Núñez of ECSU, via Ed Osborn (easternct.edu/news)
Partnering with Hartford HealthCare as well as Windham Hospital allows students at Eastern to gain experience working in the hands-on environment in a hospital, which is needed to succeed in the nursing field. Students will also be able to rotate at different hospitals under Hartford HealthCare, which will allow for more connections with different and diverse communities, which will allow students to be well-rounded and prepared for future careers. This is a huge advancement for the university on top of an already very crucial program. Hopefully, the funding being given to this program and the new steps Eastern is taking to prepare students for healthcare professions should help with Lamont’s efforts to alleviate the healthcare and nursing shortages, especially in Connecticut.