MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by McLaren Northern Michigan)

PETOSKEY: In recognition of National Health Education Week (October 19 to 23), Petoskey’s McLaren Northern Michigan nurse eduction objective plays a key role in medical and health information for Northern Michigan.

The nursing profession — three million members strong — is the largest segment of the nation’s health care workforce. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing Report, one of the main objectives for the nursing profession is to achieve advanced levels of education and training through a seamless education process.

“McLaren Northern Michigan began implementing IOM objectives two years ago by requiring all new hires to have advanced degrees within five years of their hire date,” explains Toni Moriarty-Smith, MSN/ED, RN, NE-BC, Director of Professional Nursing Practice. The goal, referred to as 80:20 in 2020, is for 80% of nurses to have attained their baccalaureate degrees by 2020.

“We have consistently encouraged advanced degrees through educational support, McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation scholarship opportunities, and coordination with university nursing programs for colleagues,” adds Moriarty-Smith. “Higher education among health care professionals means better patient care.”

McLaren Northern Michigan nurse Lance Edgerton, ADN, RN, is part of a nursing family: his mother is a heart and vascular nurse, and his wife works as an acute rehabilitation nurse.

Edgerton understands the importance of continuing his education for himself and his patients, and he is motivated by the 80:20 in 2020 compliance guidelines. The Petoskey native spent five years in medical surgery nursing at McLaren Northern Michigan. “I got to the point where I was comfortable on the floor, and I was looking for new challenges,” he says. “I wanted something new.” Under the guidance of Education Specialist and Perioperative Nurse Susan Stempky, ADN, RN, Edgerton completed a six-month Perioperative Internship Program last year. Then, he enrolled in a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

As the father of a daughter and toddler son, he knew that this was not possible without a scholarship. Family obligations, new internship, time constraints, and financial responsibilities can be daunting for anyone wanting to make a professional advancement. Thanks to scholarships available through McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation, he was able continue his internship and pursue his degree. “Without the Foundation, I don’t think I would have had the support to go back to school,” he says. “It is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders knowing that my classes will be paid for so I can continue to work toward my academic and professional goal of obtaining my BSN. Easing my financial stress has allowed me to become a better nurse, husband, and father.”

“Currently, there is an overall shortage of nurses with advanced degrees throughout the U.S.,” says David Zechman, McLaren Northern Michigan President and CEO. “Through educational support and implementation of the 80:20 guidelines, we will further our goal of providing the best quality health care to northern Michigan residents,” he adds.

McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation supports nursing education through scholarship opportunities. Those interested in donating to a scholarship fund can reach the Foundation directly at (231) 487-3500 or online at

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