FMCC looks to add nursing students with $94K grant

PHOTOGRAPHER:

The 2022 graduates from FMCC’s Registered Nurse program.

Thanks to a $94,000 SUNY Nursing Emergency Training Fund grant, Fulton-Montgomery Community College is expanding the number of student slots in its Registered Nurse program from 40 to 50.

Diana Putnam, Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, said that the funding from New York state is meant to help respond to the need for more healthcare workers throughout the region.

“This grant will enable us to purchase more equipment that will be utilized this fall to enhance our students’ training throughout the program,” Putnam said in a news release.

In 2020 the New York State Department of Health published a report showing New York state faces a potential shortage of 39,000 registered nurses by 2030. In recent years, the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers has also reduced the number of nurses willing to work in the field.

Daniel Fogarty, FMCC’s Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, said FMCC’s Registered Nurse program is one of only two “competitive” programs at the college that have a limited number of seats available, the other being the radiologic technology program, which currently has a waiting list for acceptance. Both programs have academic prerequisites including math and science courses not every college student has passed.

Fogarty said there’s no waiting list for FMCC’s Registered Nurse program this year, which currently has 38 students who successfully enrolled for fall 2022 by the previous deadline of Jan. 10. He said the program has now reopened enrollment with a dozen slots available to any student that meets the prerequisites and can sign up before Sept. 1. He explained how the grant was spent to increase FMCC’s capacity to teach healthcare students.

“The vast majority of that funding went to our nursing simulation lab, in particular the mannequins we used called ‘Nursing Anne,'” he said. “We are getting two more of those, and we’re doing a new subscriptions service called SimCapture which enables students to see what’s going on outside of the [simulation room], so you can project what you’re doing with those different manikins and ‘sims outside of the classroom, so a couple of those students could be in the simulation lab, while the whole class is able to watch what’s happening.”

The new equipment is also expected to expand FMCC’s ability to teach students in its Phlebotomy program, its Certified Nurse Assistant program and Medical Administrative Assistant programs, although none of those programs have limited seats. FMCC does not have a Licensed Practical Nurse program.

Fogarty said some of the nearest competing programs to FMCC’s Registered Nurse program include Hudson Valley Community College and Ellis Medicine’s Belanger School of Nursing.

Nathan Littauer Hospital has at times faced some staffing shortages since the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In the fall of 2021, the hospital’s website advertised numerous positions it is trying to fill, many carrying hiring bonuses ranging from $500 to $10,000.

Cheryl G. McGrattan, Nathan Littauer’s Marketing/Public Relations/Community Relations director, said the hospital welcomes FMCC’s attempt to increase the number of students in its RN program.

“Nursing is the heartbeat of any healthcare organization, and having more local talent would benefit not only our hospital, but our primary care centers,” she said.

Fogarty said students interested in the Registered Nurse program should contact the college’s admissions office at 518-736-3622 ext: 8301.

By Jason Subik

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