Skip to Main Content
Building the Health Care Workforce for Tomorrow

Building the Health Care Workforce for Tomorrow

April 28, 2023 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time


“We’re building relationships with hundreds of institutions, including many Kentucky colleges and universities, and working directly with students to create a diverse and inclusive workforce,” said Melanie Jackson, academic placement liaison, CHI Saint Joseph Health.

One example is a partnership with Kentucky State University that started last summer. CHI Saint Joseph Health committed $2.5 million in scholarships and program support for the KSU School of Nursing. Qualified students can earn scholarships and have guaranteed placement at one of the hospitals in the ministry.

Lexington resident Heather Murray is one of the first scholarship recipients to benefit from the alliance. She will graduate in May and has a position waiting for her at Saint Joseph Hospital in either the ICU or emergency department.

“It’s nice to have this opportunity because it gives me security, both with having a job lined up after I graduate and financially with the scholarship,” Murray said. “I appreciate Melanie [Jackson] for helping me prepare for this job. She was always in contact with me every step of the way.”

Melissa Bennett, DHA, RN, CPPS, NEA-BC, FACHE, market vice president of operations and chief nursing executive, CHI Saint Joseph Health, said the alliance with KSU is one of many steps the ministry is taking to ensure Saint Joseph continues to deliver high quality care into the future. That includes support for clinical rotations for students and relationships with both KSU and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.

“We are also developing new models of care delivery through virtual nursing and paramedicine programs at Saint Joseph Hospital,” Bennett said. “We are providing new opportunities for employees to grow in their professions, and we are recruiting more nursing externs and developing those relationships from the beginning of their careers.”

John Yanes, FACHE, CPPS, president of Saint Joseph Berea and Saint Joseph London, said open communication lines, flexible scheduling and collaboration with local colleges has helped Saint Joseph London create a robust nursing extern program.

“We developed creative and flexible scheduling for all schools so that clinical rotations can be accommodated, including night and weekend shifts,” Yanes said. “It’s exciting to witness health care organizations and universities share a greater appreciation for joint efforts to develop innovative and lasting solutions to develop a needed workforce.”

In some cases, the connection begins before students reach college.

Jennifer Nolan, president of Flaget Memorial Hospital and Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, continues to connect with the local school system through programs, such as a teacher summer externship program, the Nelson County Schools Backpack Leaders, health and career fairs, and other initiatives, to develop interest in health care sciences among students ages 5 to 18.

“We enjoy hosting students and community leaders because we get to showcase what we do,” Nolan said. “Students are inspiring with their awe and curiosity, and it’s great to educate them on the difference they can make in their community.”

In addition to focusing on future employees, CHI Saint Joseph Health also supports the growth of current team members pursuing educational and career advancement, including through tuition reimbursement, loan forgiveness, professional development and academic scholarships.

Ready to join the team? Visit

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2023 print edition of Spirit of Health.

Recent Articles

Fast Track Your Success

JUN 20, 2024

If you want to work in health care, CHI Saint Joseph Health can help you get started.

Read More Additional information about Fast Track Your Success

Nurse Extern to ER Nurse

JUN 17, 2024

Lee Stamper, RN, turned midlife malaise into a new career.

Read More Additional information about Nurse Extern to ER Nurse

Investing in Your Future

JUN 13, 2024

CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to helping current and aspiring nurses reach their full potential.

Read More Additional information about Investing in Your Future

Subscribe for Updates

Fill out the form below to receive monthly health news and information to your inbox.

View the Latest Print Edition

Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.