Albany Med Health System and Russell Sage College Announce Pipeline to Address Nursing Staff Shortages

The Albany Med Health System and Russell Sage College have announced an academic partnership that will provide nursing students with hands-on career experience while helping to combat the impact of a national nurse staffing shortage.

Under the new partnership, Russell Sage nursing students will complete their clinical assignments at Albany Med Health System campuses, and current system employees will receive a discount to attend graduate nursing programs at Sage. Following their direct clinical experience, students are encouraged to explore job opportunities within the system. The agreement also facilitates a registered nurse-bachelor of science program at Russell Sage tailored to Albany Med Health System employees, and it also supports laboratory professionals and clinical faculty members.

Leaders from the Albany Med Health System and Russell Sage College said the agreement forms a creative solution to the staffing challenges the health care field has battled over the past few years. The pipeline will help the system recruit new employees and provide growth opportunities for existing employees.

“This is an example of two local institutions working together to strengthen our community. It’s a win-win for both the students, who get excellent experiences, our health care facilities, and the patients we are proud to serve,” Albany Med Health System President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna, MD, said.

“Russell Sage College has been training nurses for 100 years and is continually evolving to keep pace with scientific and technological advances and a shifting job market,” said Russell Sage College President Chris Ames. “We are in the perfect position to collaborate with Albany Medical Center to address the critical shortage of health professionals.”

Current Albany Medical Center nurses say the learning opportunities Russell Sage College provided them helped them start and grow their careers at the hospital.

“The reason I came to Albany Medical Center was because Sage brought me here,” said nurse educator Kristina Marie Villajuan, RN. During her studies, Villajuan completed a rotation on the neuroscience unit and knew she found a good fit. “Originally, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but after completing my clinical assignment at Albany Medical Center, I was hooked. I loved the nurses I worked with, and the whole unit was very welcoming to students.”

“I was very comfortable at Sage undergrad, and I had a lot of support from my professors, who I built close relationships with,” said Rachel Treers, RN, who works in the medical/surgical intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center. Treers completed her senior capstone on the unit and was offered a job prior to graduation.

“It helped with the confidence I had as I was entering the nursing profession and it gave me a sense of comfort and familiarity.” With goals of advancing her career, Treers will return to Russell Sage College this fall in its family nurse practitioner program.