In John McDowell’s recent column on special districts, he offers his opinion about Sequoia Healthcare District’s support of a nursing program that simply needs more clarification. Of course, this information would have been available to him prior if he had simply bothered to ask, called to discuss the matter or attended an open board meeting. Responsible letters to educate the public should include responsible research about the topic discussed.
He states we have spent $11 million on the nursing program. He does not state that the expenditure was over the past 11 years. He indicates we are listed as the largest donor to San Francisco State but fails to mention that our latest $1.7 million total pledge for the nursing program is a three-year commitment at around $600,000 a year and therefore an almost 50 percent reduction compared to prior years.
The goal of the program has been to educate more than 500 outstanding nurses to replace a growing older nursing population. Many of these former students are already in leadership positions at local hospitals that serve our residents. His number of $220,000 per the locally employed is completely wrong as 80 students are still in school and obviously not available to work and the number of employed he states as 50 is simply how many we have been able to track to date.
He also fails to mention that due to the recession the past few years that many graduates had to leave the area to find employment. This does not mean that they will not return to our area once the expected retirement boom hits as expected by 2017.
He totally fails to mention that this program is a responsible approach to educating our medical personnel versus the previous practice of recruiting and hiring nurses from overseas.
Mr. McDowell states that special districts should not escape public scrutiny and we agree. However, public education through the opinion page should have the responsibility to provide well-researched and accurate information.
CEO, Sequoia Healthcare District