By Stephen Snyder
On Monday, while signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Georgia Southwestern State University President Kendall Blanchard, Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Joel Wernick announced that Phoebe is donating $1 million to equip a virtual learning center to train nursing students in the University’s new Health and Sciences Building.
“This collaboration focuses a broader lens on several critical areas of medical services, nursing and allied health sciences, and it is aligned to help support Phoebe Putney Health System’s growth and strategic initiatives throughout the 30-county southwest Georgia region,” said Wernick. “We know the proximity of strong undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as state-of-the-art facilities, will be of great value to our system in helping ensure our hospitals are able to meet present and future demands for clinical and managerial personnel.”
The-state-of-the-art simulation and virtual learning center will allow students and health care practitioners throughout this area to practice and test their clinical skills outside the confines of the traditional setting. It will move GSW’s School of Nursing to the forefront of innovation and clinical technology.
“As I have said many times before, the new hospital and Phoebe Putney Health System’s aggressive involvement in the greater Sumter County area is one of the best things that has happened both to the University and the larger community it serves,” Blanchard said. “The generous gift, as well as the opportunities that the collaboration with the hospital will provide, ensure that our nursing program will continue to grow and enhance its already stellar reputation.
With Phoebe’s increased presence in the city of Americus (Phoebe Sumter Hospital), the timing was right for the two sides to begin working together. The MOU signifies the intentions of Phoebe Putney Health System and Georgia Southwestern to collaborate on learning and training opportunities for GSW nursing students and Phoebe Sumter Hospital medical personnel.
“The goal of the School of Nursing is to prepare a highly educated workforce to deliver care with highly developed clinical reasoning abilities,” said Sandra Daniel, Ph.D., dean of GSW’s School of Nursing. “Phoebe’s gift to GSW’s School of Nursing and the signing of this agreement represent an investment in quality, efficient and patient-centered health care in this region, and we are extremely grateful.”
This $1 million gift is one of the largest single gifts Georgia Southwestern has received in its 105-year history. The resources it plans to provide will further prepare one of the state’s best Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. Southwestern’s spring 2010 nursing graduates passed the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) at a rate of 100 percent.
The ground breaking of Georgia Southwestern’s new Health and Human Sciences Complex is scheduled for Friday, March 18 at 11 a.m.