Tompkins Cortland Community College, Cortland Regional announce nursing partnership

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A partnership between Tompkins Cortland Community College and Cortland Regional Medical Center will allow the college to expand its nursing program while providing the hospital with additional nurses to care for its patients.

On Friday, a memorandum of agreement was signed by Tompkins Cortland Community College President Orinthia Montague and Cortland Regional Medical Center President and CEO Mark Webster at the TC3 Extension Center in Cortland.

“Cortland Regional is making it possible for the College to address a critical need,” TC3 President Orinthia Montague said. “We thank CRMC for joining this partnership for the betterment of our community.”

CRMC has agreed to provide a total contribution of $456,000 to the college over five years to fund the addition of 20 new students to an evening nursing program—along with the addition of one full-time and two adjunct nursing faculty—beginning in January 2020.

“This will be the only nursing program in the region to offer all of the nursing classes and clinical hours during the evening, making this an option for people who can’t afford to stop working while they come back to school,” said TC3 Professor Kim Sharpe, chair of the college’s nursing program.

Sharpe noted that the program will also utilize more online education, further increasing convenience for students. All students in the program will fulfill their clinical hours with a faculty member present while caring for patients at the hospital.

Twenty students that start in January 2020 will graduate in December of 2021, with another 20 students starting in January of 2022 and graduating in December 2023.

The groundwork for the agreement began in the summer of 2017, shortly after Montague began her tenure at the college. Montague met with several community organizations to find out ways the college could better meet their needs.

“One of the loudest and strongest voices I heard came from the medical community,” said Montague. “They love our nurses, but they want more. The need is real, which means our graduates get great jobs right here in our community. But the nursing program is expensive to operate, so it was a matter of finding a way to make it work financially. That is what makes this new agreement with Cortland Regional an absolute win-win for everyone. The College can provide the community with more of the highly qualified nurses we need, without incurring prohibitive expenses.”

In addition to being the first evening nursing program at the college, the new program also marks the first the time college will graduate nurses in December, fulfilling a need in the community.

“While we have enjoyed a rich relationship with Tompkins Cortland for decades, this innovative partnership adds a new dimension,” said Webster. “The program will benefit the College, Cortland Regional, and, most importantly, the students. It’s a tangible, long-term commitment for us to improve the health and wealth of our community.”

Students will take all their general education requirements prior to beginning the nursing program, allowing them to complete the nursing classes while taking classes and doing clinical visits just three nights per week.

When the evening program is running, the College will have a total of 150 students in the two nursing programs.