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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Intermountain Health Care is donating more than $1 million to Weber State University to boost its nursing programs.
The money will enable the university to add nursing classes this fall at its Davis Campus.
The donation enables Weber State to hire more nursing faculty at both campuses and train 150 additional registered nurses during the next five years.
IHC also will donate $100,000 to Weber State's Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
"This gift will make a difference," said Shelley Conroy, dean of Weber State's College of Health Professions.
The university produces about 240 to 270 licensed RNs each year.
IHC also is donating funds to other colleges and universities statewide, but Weber State, which produces 60 percent of nursing associate degree graduates in Utah, is receiving the largest amount of money, Conroy said.
"I'm pleased IHC has confidence in Weber State," she said.
Other schools receiving grants from IHC include Brigham Young University, Salt Lake Community College, Westminster College, Utah Valley State College, College of Eastern Utah, Southern Utah University and Dixie State College.
Dixie will receive $600,000 over the next five years. SUU received a $125,000 check on April 6.
The grants are expected to allow more than 600 additional nursing graduates to be produced by Utah colleges and universities over the next five years.
Nationally, there is a shortage of nurses, and the trend is expected to continue. By 2020, the United States may have a 20 percent shortage in the number of nurses needed, according to IHC.
"One of the major challenges in Utah is that many qualified applicants for nursing school are turned down because the programs don't have the capacity for more students," said Nancy Woods-Kershner, chief nursing officer for McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)