Nursing schools

In 2020, HCA Healthcare expanded its commitment to education by becoming the majority owner of Galen College of Nursing, which joined Research College of Nursing and Mercy School of Nursing as educational facilities within the HCA Healthcare family.

Our partnership with Galen has increased access to education and provided nursing career development opportunities that we believe will positively impact patient care. In November 2021, Galen and Fisk University, a Historically Black University, announced an articulation agreement that allows Fisk degree coursework credits to transfer to Galen so students can go directly into Galen’s BSN program. This will help Fisk students obtain degrees that can lead to advancement and growth, drive diversity in the nursing field, and in turn make a meaningful impact on the quality of healthcare in the communities we serve.

81,000+

affiliated nurses across the United States and the U.K.

42%

of staff at HCA hospitals are nurses providing direct patient care

5,500

nurses hold leadership positions at HCA hospitals


The HCA Healthcare-Galen College of Nursing Grant also allows direct billing between our two organizations, which means zero out-of-pocket tuition costs for colleagues pursing an online RN to BSN.

Galen understands the busy life of an RN. That’s why the online RN to BSN program allows nurses to learn on their schedule with mobile-friendly content and course work aligned with HCA Healthcare quality measures. Galen custom builds all courses with subject matter experts, nationally recognized specialists and faculty to create highly interactive and engaging material to facilitate better learning.

Galen also offers an online MSN in Healthcare Leadership, developed in a unique collaboration with HCA Healthcare nursing leadership. This program develops leaders who can help shape the future of nursing practice in complex systems through innovation, advanced critical thinking and care transformation. Galen also has other campus-based programs available through the HCA Healthcare Tuition Reimbursement Program.

Galen’s sole focus on nursing education allows them to direct 100 percent of their resources to quality nursing education, including their students’ success. They focus on and care about the full educational experience, which means significant resources go to the support systems in place to help every student achieve their goals.

Tuition and student loan assistance

HCA Healthcare proudly encourages the professional growth of our colleagues who wish to improve their knowledge, skills and potential for advancement through continued education. Offering tuition and student loan assistance is one way we are investing in the progress of our patients, people and communities.

In 2020, more than 13,884 HCA Healthcare colleagues participated in the student loan assistance program.In total, HCA Healthcare has assisted with more than $59.2 million in student loan payments (as of Dec. 31, 2021). HCA Healthcare also invests approximately $40 million per year in the tuition assistance program, which has helped about 5,000 colleagues graduate. More than 70% of degrees have been in the nursing field.

Certification reimbursement

The Clinical Certification Support Program (pre-paid certification voucher, test fee reimbursement and certification bonus) policy encourages colleagues to enhance and promote their professional growth for advancement by newly acquiring or recertifying nationally recognized certifications beyond those required for their current position.

Nurse Residency and StaRN programs

HCA Healthcare’s Nurse Residency Program supports graduates transitioning into professional nurses. This yearlong program begins with the Specialty Training Apprenticeship for Registered Nurses (StaRN), which allows new graduates to obtain acute care nursing experience through an intensive paid internship. Participants receive classroom and skills training, simulation training, clinical preceptorship and professional development, enabling them to move directly into specialty areas.

After graduating from the StaRN program, nurses continue their first-year residency and gain the experience needed to begin their work with the support of preceptors, mentors, simulations and hands-on experiences.

HCA Healthcare's Centers for Clinical Advancement (CCA) bridge the gap between classroom learning and bedside care by providing highly interactive, practice-based instruction. Our goal is to provide new hires and seasoned caregivers with the opportunity to engage in an immersive learning experience, enabling them to elevate their clinical practice. The CCA include dedicated classroom space, advanced simulation spaces, virtual “face-to-face” interaction and best-in-class tools and equipment. Using mannequins to simulate high-risk circumstances, teams can train together to address specific patient care situations and develop a treatment plan. Following the scenario, teams work together to discuss what they could have done differently to achieve an improved patient outcome.

HCA Healthcare currently has 11 CCA (as of Dec. 31, 2021) which are strategically located in order to provide access and capture the most registered nurses in a division, taking into account commute times.

HCA Healthcare has adopted the Donna Wright Model for Ongoing Competency Assessment to ensure the identification, selection, validation and evaluation of competencies is consistent and standardized throughout the enterprise. This model is an effective, efficient and meaningful approach to competency assessment. It is designed to ensure colleagues have the knowledge, skills and attitude or behavior required to meet essential components of the job today and in the future. The model reflects the dynamic nature of the job and is an outcome-focused, accountability-based approach.

In addition to rolling out the Donna Wright model, the Competency-Based Staged Orientation (CBSO) program formulates initial competencies for each inpatient specialty across the enterprise. Adaptation of the model occurs in other healthcare specialties when requested through the Competency Steering Committee. In 2021, each HCA Healthcare division implemented the CBSO program across all acute and critical specialties.

As a complement to the CBSO program and in an effort to further the competency model management work, the implementation of Jane is underway. Jane is the world’s first clinical competency system using artificial intelligence (AI). This smart solution created by HealthStream is harnessing the power of AI to create a system designed to measure competency across the knowledge and clinical judgement domains. This powerfully intelligent tool seamlessly incorporates knowledge assessments, AI critical thinking assessments and a comprehensive continuing education library to allow for the identification and mitigation of organizational risk in minutes.