By Graham Duncan
Lander University and Self Regional Healthcare have announced the establishment of two new practice-partnerships between the University and the health care provider that will further enhance the educational experience for Lander’s nursing students and assist Self Regional in their mission to provide quality care to local residents.
“We are proud to partner with Lander University to support the nursing program there,” said Dr. Matt Logan, president and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare. “For years, Lander has had a very strong nursing program, and this new cooperative venture between our organizations will make that program even stronger. It’s vital to the health and wellbeing of our community that we have a pipeline of well-trained and high-quality nursing talent right here in the Lakelands, and we are so grateful for partners like Lander University working hard to see that this need is met.”
The Clinical Accelerated Readiness Experience (CARE) Program at Self Regional Healthcare is a new co-curricular program available to Lander’s nursing students during their senior year. As part of the program, students will be hired as paid patient care technicians at Self Regional. After successful completion of each semester, students will receive a $4,000 stipend from Self Regional—a total of $8,000 for their senior year. In return, students agree to work at Self Regional for one year after graduation. Each year, 50 percent of Lander’s senior nursing cohort will be eligible for participation in this program.
Meanwhile, the health care provider has also established a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) to provide Lander students with additional preceptor-led clinical instruction. The DEU will expose students to a diverse work environment, helping them to develop their resourcefulness, versatility, communication and compassion for patient care as they complete their nursing education. Dr. Holisa Wharton, dean of the School of Nursing at Lander, noted that this model of clinical instruction was recommended by the National Academy of Medicine as it ensures that clinical agencies, like Self Regional, are involved in the educational experience of nursing.
“Nursing is a profession that is all about service,” said Wharton. “These new partnerships allow the School of Nursing to expose students to service in our community, and at the same time help the community gain access to health care through their encounters with our nursing students.”
Carol Stefaniak, vice president and chief nursing officer at Self Regional, said, “Not only is nursing an incredibly rewarding career, it is a vital role to our health care system. The entire Self Regional organization is excited to see this partnership with Lander University evolve, because we know the positive impact it will have on our hospital, on the University, on nurses who participate, and ultimately on the patients we serve.”
These new programs are only the latest developments in a series of collaborations between Lander and Self Regional. In February, the two institutions formed the Self Regional Scholars Program for junior nursing students at Lander, after a monumental endowed gift from Self Regional to help address the growing need for highly trained nurses in the health care industry. The scholarship is awarded annually to up to 15 students, with preference given to students from Greenwood, Laurens, Edgefield, Abbeville, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties. In exchange, Self Scholars agree to one year of employment at Self Regional after graduation from Lander. These students are also given priority acceptance into the CARE Program their senior year.
The two institutions also recently held a grand opening ceremony for Lander’s Self Regional Healthcare Nursing Skills Simulation Center (NSSC). This new facility features some of the most advanced resources in nursing education, with four teaching-learning labs that can accommodate up to 80 students per session each. The NSSC also includes three practice labs for group practice sessions and clinical skills remediation, and bedside computers that simulate virtual patient encounters and electronic health records.
“People may remember that the initial nursing program at Lander University was named the Self Memorial Nursing Department of Lander College” Wharton said. That precursor to the present-day School of Nursing was first established in 1955, and admitted its first students in 1957. “This relationship has been here since the inception of nursing education at Lander, and we’ve never lost that relationship. These programs are part of the next evolution of that strong partnership between Self and Lander.”
“Lander University and Self Regional Healthcare have a shared commitment to providing our region with quality health care and health care professionals,” added Dr. Cosentino, president of Lander University. “The CARE Program and the Dedicated Education Unit at Self Regional are just the latest steps our two institutions have taken to advance that common mission.”