|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2007
Remarks by Alan D. Aviles
President, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
Press conference to Announce Center for Economic Opportunity/HHC Nurse Career Ladder Program
Coler-Goldwater is one of four long-term care facilities that are part of our public hospital system and it is by far the largest with just over 2000 beds almost evenly divided between this building and its sister facility on the north end of Roosevelt Island or, as we like to think of it, the Riviera of HHC.
Executive Director Claude Ritman and his staff here do a fabulous job, and I also want to thank them for hosting us here this morning. But more importantly, I want to thank the entire Coler-Goldwater family for welcoming our first class of LPN students who started here in the Career Ladder program last month.
Nurses – both licensed practical nurses and registered nurses – are the backbone of any hospital or skilled nursing home. The training, skills and commitment of the nursing staff makes a big difference in the quality of care possible in a healthcare facility. And having nurses that reflect the diversity of the predominately low-income patients that we serve is especially valuable to a mission-driven system like HHC… a system that serves as the safety net to the new immigrant communities of our city.
We are fortunate at HHC to have many talented and compassionate nurses. In fact, we employ nearly 7,000 nurses across our system. But a large percentage of our nurses are over the age of 50 and many will be eligible for retirement in the next five to ten years.
At the same time, the demand for additional nurses over the next ten years – not just by our system but in general -- is very likely to exceed the projected supply. That is why the City’s Career Ladder program is such a win-win for the communities served by our public hospital system.
The successful low-income candidates get to enter a rewarding profession with tremendous growth opportunities, and our public hospital system is ensured a steady supply of well-trained, highly motivated nurses who are committed to our mission and who likely come from the very communities that we predominately serve.
Here at Coler-Goldwater, the 10-month LPN certificate program --with an entering class of 40 participants – has been created as an expansion of the already successful LPN program run by the New York City Department of Education. We have set up nursing lab classrooms with the equipment and technology necessary to support a state of the art curriculum.
The learning experience for LPN students also is enriched by the opportunity to work with patients and families here.
The recruited students in our first LPN class range in age from 21 to 47. Just over 75% of the students are female and the majority of these students are the single head of household that includes one or more children.
All the students were low wage earners, or in some cases, unemployed, and are now on a path to a successful career and a guaranteed job with a current starting salary of $37,000.
The second program sponsored by the Center for Economic Opportunity is a collaboration between Kings County Hospital and Long Island University and will provide 240 academic scholarships leading to a fully-accredited four-year RN and bachelor of science degree. Those graduates will have guaranteed positions waiting for them within HHC with a current starting salary of $62,000.
I will leave it to Dean Kilts to tell you more about the LIU/Kings County program, but I want to point out that the new nursing school at Kings County re-kindles an old tradition of the public hospital system training many of its own nurses. The program will be located on the same site as a former Nursing School that dates back to 1897 and graduated its last class in the late 1970’s. The LIU/Kings County nursing school will be the first in 25 years to resume training registered nurses on a public hospital campus.
Let me quickly acknowledge some of the other HHC team members who have been working to establish both of these programs: Jean Leon, Sr. Vice President and Executive Director, Kings County Hospital (a nurse); Frank Cirillo, HHC’s Sr. Vice President of Operations; HHC’s HR team: Nancy Doyle, Margaret Cohen and LaShawn Williams; and our Assistant Vice President of Corporate Nursing Marie Ankner. Thank you all for your work on this important initiative.
Lastly, all of us at HHC are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg for his continued support of our public hospital system and to the Center for Economic Opportunity – especially DM Gibbs and ED Veronica White – as well as our partners from DOE and LIU for allowing HHC to be a vital part of the city’s efforts to help so many New Yorkers move from poverty to productive and rewarding careers in our public hospital system.