Colby-Sawyer College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) announced today an expansion of their existing partnership, which trains registered nurses, by now exploring additional areas of health sciences education and training.
The expansion comes at a time when New Hampshire is experiencing a significant shortage of health professionals, a national issue which many states are now encountering. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026 the need for key health profession positions will grow significantly: registered nurses by 13.9 percent, mental health and substance abuse counselors by 16.7 percent, family nurse practitioners by 34.7 percent, physical therapists by 22.7 percent, and occupational therapists by 19.3 percent. These labor challenges, combined with a growing demand for services across the system, underscore the importance of developing a strong pipeline for highly trained, quality health professionals.
Currently, Colby-Sawyer graduates 30 to 40 nursing undergraduates a year, 80 percent of whom accept positions in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system. Under the enhanced partnership arrangement, the college aims to increase the number of undergraduate nurses to 100-150 per cohort over the span of five to seven years. The college is also planning to expand into an associates of health sciences degree, designed for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health employees, as well as programs in mental health and substance abuse counseling, a respiratory therapy bachelor’s completion program, social work, new focus areas for the MSN program, and, potentially, programs for family nurse practitioners and in physical therapy or occupational therapy. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system will continue to provide clinical opportunities for Colby-Sawyer students and participate in the planning processes to ensure new programs will address pressing workforce needs.
Colby-Sawyer College has been preparing nurses at the Bachelor of Science level since 1981. Today, it offers three degrees in nursing – a BS in Nursing, a Master’s of Science in Nursing with an emphasis on clinical nurse leadership, and an RN to BS program. For the past three years, Colby-Sawyer nurses have achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which compares to 85.1 percent nationally. A critical component of the college’s success is its partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. A Colby-Sawyer BS degree in nursing combines clinical experience at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, with hands-on learning in campus classrooms and laboratories, as well as individual and group research. These students benefit from the best of both worlds – clinical experience at a major regional tertiary care center and high quality academic and co-curricular opportunities in a vibrant, residential college community.
“Nurses are key members of our care team and are at the core of the patient experience,” said D-HH CEO and President Joanne M .Conroy, MD. “As the demand for our services grows, so does our need for quality nurses and other health professionals. I look forward to the growth of our relationship with Colby-Sawyer. It will fill a vital need here but, more importantly, it will benefit the patients and families we serve.”
“Colby-Sawyer is extremely appreciative of the existing partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock,” said Colby-Sawyer President Sue Stuebner. “We look forward to graduating more students in a variety of health science fields who in turn can assist the health system as it faces shortages in several areas.”
The college remains committed to a liberal arts and sciences core curriculum and will continue to offer an array of disciplines in its 20 majors and 25 minors offered through the college’s three schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Social Sciences, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK (D-H), New Hampshire’s only academic health system, serves a population of 1.9 million across New England. D-H provides access to more than 1,500 primary care doctors and specialists in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named in 2018 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by US News & World Report, nationally ranked in gynecology, and recognized for high performance in 14 clinical specialties. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 49 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-HH system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.
About Colby-Sawyer College
Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation that enrolls approximately 1,000 students. Colby-Sawyer is ranked by US News & World Report as #7 in the Regional Colleges North category, as well as #5 in the Best Value in the same category, the highest of any regional college in New England. Colby-Sawyer was also named #3 in undergraduate teaching. Ninety-nine percent of the Class of 2018 was employed or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the Town of New London, which is in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at www.colby-sawyer.edu.