GSW expansion to meet the growing need for more nurses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GSW expansion to meet the growing need for more nurses

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AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The demand for nurses is growing.

Georgia Southwestern State University will help meet that need with the addition of a new Health and Human Sciences Building. It's expected to be ready in early next year just after Phoebe Sumter Hospital opens. The school and the hospital have forged a partnership.

Friday's ground breaking is the first phase of a 15 million dollar project to expand Georgia's SouthWestern's Health and Human Sciences program. It will grow the nursing program, and could bring other health related programs to the university.

It's been ten years in the making, but trees are finally being uprooted for a new Health and Human Science Complex on Georgia SouthWestern State University's campus.

"Eighty percent of all the registered nurses obtain the Baccalaureate degree or higher within a 10 year time frame so that's putting a lot of pressure on all nursing programs to increase," said Dr. Sandra Daniel, GSW School of Nursing Dean.

It gives GSW's nursing program the room and resources it needs to double the program from 200 to a possible 400 nursing students and puts technology in students hands.

"We can read about illnesses and disease processes in our books, we can study drugs all day long, but until we actually apply those things in a clinical setting, that we really begin to understand how things work in health care," said Wesley Young, a GSW Nursing Student.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's donation of a million dollars for a virtual learning center will make the program, state of the art.

"With a facility like this where we're able to practice those skills in a safe environment, that's really going to be the future of producing quality nurses," said Young.

The community may also benefit from a well-trained medical work force, that's likely to remain in south Georgia.

"This is a vital economic development shot in the arm for this region of the state," said Senator George Hooks, (D)-District 14.

"I'm very hopeful for the future in bringing new programs to the area. It's not an accident that Phoebe has a medical residency program from the Medical College of Georgia or I should say the new Georgia Health Sciences University," said Rep. Mike Cheokas, (R)-District 134.

Setting south Georgia up for the potential to bring more health science programs to this region of the state in the years to come.

A member of the Board of Regents didn't seem to think Darton's push to expand their program would affect Georgia SouthWestern State University's growth. He says a lot of institutions realize they need to grow these type of programs. The problem he says is funding.

The first phase of the project will include the nursing program expansion. The second phase will include a new building for psychology, sociology, and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caring.


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