OCONTO FALLS, Wis. (WBAY) -- New grants from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) are intended to fill "high need, high demand" positions in rural hospitals.
HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls received one of those grants for $55,762. That money will be dispersed over two years to support education and training.
The Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) Eastern Wisconsin Division hospitals have a long-standing partnership with the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) Nursing Program.
"They use our facilities to give their students some clinical experience and some hands-on training," said Sherry Willems, Manager of Clinical Education for the HSHS Eastern Wisconsin Division. "In return, we get the opportunity to work with these students and help them grow into the professionals we hope we can hire."
"There is that nursing shortage out there, nursing assistants shortage that is really big," said Brian Krogh, Associate Dean of the Nursing Program at NWTC. "We're really hoping to be able to train students to work better and have a better opportunity to work in a hospital setting."
HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital plans to use the grant funding in three ways. The hospital will offer a two-year scholarship to a local student entering a sonography program.
"That's to grow a local student into a profession that we really have a need for," said Willems.
In addition, the funding will support more training for physical and occupational therapists on staff. The grant will also provide enhanced training for nursing assistant students at NWTC.
"We realized that there was a gap in what we need in the hospital setting versus what they are being trained for in the college setting," said Willems.
"Getting extra training in an acute care setting will really enhance their ability to get a job," said Krogh.
The partnership exposes students to job opportunities available in rural areas.
"This is to bring the care closer to home, keep patients closer to home, keep students that may go somewhere else to attend school closer to us so that we can employ them in the future," said Willems.