Optum, Capella University launch educational program for nurse practitioners

Optum is teaming up with Capella University to launch a new educational program aimed at stemming the tide of the nurse shortage.

The program is built on Optum's clinical expertise and care facilities along with Capella's capabilities as an accredited online university, according to an announcement. It will arm nursing students with the knowledge necessary to secure licensure and to step into leadership roles.

Many of those in the program will be able to get hands-on experience at Optum's sites of care, the company said, and will have access to recruitment resources and job opportunities.

“Optum and Capella University are working together to help address the critical need for qualified clinicians we all rely upon to keep us healthy and well,” said Kristy Duffey, chief nursing officer at Optum Health, in the release.

“By bringing together our unique sets of skills and capabilities, we will be able to train the next generation of highly qualified nurse practitioners equipped to take on the health care challenges of tomorrow," Duffey said.

The first offering under the partnership is a master's degree for adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners, according to the announcement. Students can begin to enroll now, with classes starting Oct. 9.

Optum and Capella expect to launch a family nurse practitioner program down the line, according to the announcement.

“Capella University is honored to partner with Optum to support the need for nurse practitioners,” said Dick Senese, president of Capella University, in the release. “Capella has a reputation of strong industry leadership in nursing education that we are thrilled to bring to this program as we expand our portfolio.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 200,000 nursing jobs will be open each year through at least 2031. The issue is a major focus for industry leaders, with 94% of those surveyed in June on the matter naming the nursing shortage a priority.