BHSH System and GVSU break new ground to tackle nursing shortage

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 12,2022 – Two of Michigan’s largest institutions have created what they hope will be a model for the nation in addressing the severe talent shortage in nursing. Leaders from BHSH System and Grand Valley State University have announced an innovative partnership with the creation of the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. This unique partnership will increase the nursing talent pipeline by taking away financial barriers to college and smoothing the educational path to employment at BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan.

The health system is investing more than $19 million to provide infrastructure, start-up costs and resources for increased clinical placements, training and other support for students in the program. This includes grant dollars for all BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholars. Grand Valley will increase infrastructure support for students in the areas of financial aid, curriculum enhancements, technology and equipment, student support services, simulation enhancements and clinical experiences.

The BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar partnership will create an opportunity for nearly 500 additional students to pursue a career in nursing over the next six years. The university will assume all future infrastructure costs and maintain a permanent increase in the number of students admitted to its Kirkhof College of Nursing, creating a lasting impact for our community, state and region. More than 92 percent of all GVSU graduates within the health professions stay in Michigan.

A federal workforce analysis shows Michigan currently has a nursing shortage for its population, and that shortage has been exacerbated by the burnout and stress caused by the pandemic. Leaders at BHSH System and GVSU say the creative solution they’ve designed will build a stronger talent pipeline, and the partnership can serve as a model and inspiration to enterprises, universities, communities and governments to solve the nation’s talent shortages.

“We challenged ourselves to be bold: What can we do, together with GVSU, to permanently increase access to education, strengthen nursing education programs and invest in talented, compassionate people who want to become nurses?” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System (formerly Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health). “Our teams delivered a joint, innovative proposal that expands opportunities for up to 500 future nurses and can be the model for others to emulate. We are incredibly excited about the nurse scholar program and the impact this will have in health care, for individual learners and for future generations.”

Grand Valley President Philomena V. Mantella said the agreement is a perfect example of how educational institutions and enterprises can partner quickly and efficiently to address talent shortages.

“These talent gaps hold us back or put us at risk,” said Mantella. “We have many dedicated and talented students who want to pursue nursing, but we needed the creativity and support of our partners at BHSH System to make the expansion of nursing possible and affordable for more talented and diverse students. This program is a huge leap forward and a model for other high need fields. I applaud the ingenuity and willingness of our teams to bring it to fruition.”

After all approvals and accreditation, the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program will be in place by January 2023.


About Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University attracts nearly 23,000 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university serving students from across Michigan and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 300+ areas of study from campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Holland, and from regional centers in Battle Creek, Detroit, Muskegon, and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.

About BHSH System
Forming from two leading health systems in Michigan (Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health), BHSH System will be a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage with an exceptional team of 64,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses offering services in 22 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving over 1.2 million members across the state of Michigan. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we will build a system designed to meet the needs of the people we serve through care and coverage that is accessible, affordable, equitable and exceptional.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health is a $8.3 billion, not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1.2 million members across the state of Michigan. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. We are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit


Tim Hawkins
Media Relations
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