The Hackensack Meridian Health Meridian Health Foundation secured a $3 million gift from the Grunin Foundation to create patient care technician (PCT) preceptorship and apprenticeship programs that will provide a career ladder for team members looking to move into long-term, higher paying clinical positions such as nursing, while offering growth opportunities for team members who want to build a lifelong career as a PCT, including mentorship and leadership responsibilities. The programs will also provide employment opportunities for local community members with limited education who want to begin a career in health care.
“This generous gift by the Grunin Foundation is the first of its kind for Hackensack Meridian Health,” said Robert C. Garrett, chief executive officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “PCTs are hands-on at the bedside taking care of our patients each and every day, and it’s vital that we offer them educational opportunities and a career path, as many of them seek to grow in the field of health care. Additionally, this gift will afford team members who may be working in other areas of the network – such as environmental services or food and nutrition – an opportunity to grow in a career, while offering additional employment opportunities for our community. It’s an incredibly important gift and I am extremely grateful that the Grunin Foundation recognizes the value that PCTs bring to the patient care experience.”
Due, in part, to nurses being pulled from the bedside to perform more administrative functions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the need for PCTs will grow by more than 18 percent over the next three years.
“We know that PCTs often feel as though there is a lack of support, which causes turnover in the role, and creates an issue in filling PCT vacancies,” said Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer, Meridian Health Foundation. “We also know that high turnover and high vacancy rates negatively impact patient care and increase costs to health care systems, which are just two very important reasons that there is a dire need for well-qualified PCTs. This gift will be a huge help in ensuring our patients continue to receive the best possible care, while creating real career opportunities for Hackensack Meridian Health team members and our community. We are very thankful to be able to implement this fantastic program through the help of philanthropy.”
PCTs provide services such as supporting emergency room patients, reporting vital signs, checking blood pressure and pulse, monitoring patients’ conditions and providing updates to the care team. They also provide other direct patient care, including feeding, bathing, ambulating, phlebotomy, obtaining electrocardiograms (EKGs) and finger-stick blood glucose monitoring, as well as serving as emotional support to patients and their families.
“We are thrilled to be able to make this gift to the Meridian Health Foundation and Hackensack Meridian Health,” said Jeremy Grunin, president of the Grunin Foundation. “Our foundation has previously championed education at Hackensack Meridian Health by backing the inception of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program at Ocean Medical Center, and so providing startup funding for the PCT preceptorship and apprenticeship programs throughout the network is a natural fit and spans the spectrums of clinical and economic excellence. We believe strongly in supporting health care as a way for our community and our economy to thrive. We are excited for the new career paths this will open up for individuals enrolled in the programs.”
The $3 million gift from the Grunin Foundation contributes to a $150 million goal set by Meridian Health Foundation as part of its capital fundraising campaign. Called Giving Heals, the campaign supports four important initiatives: strengthening oncology services, improving clinical outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and broadening clinical research and academic programs. To date, nearly $110 million has been raised toward the goal, which supports eight Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, including: Bayshore Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Ocean Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center.
To learn more about the PCT program or how to support it, contact Matthew Lang at 732-751-5116 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Giving Heals, visit www.hackensackmeridian.org/givingheals.