McLeod donates to FMU nursing as school continues growth - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

McLeod donates to FMU nursing as school continues growth

McLeod gives $75,000 to Francis Marion University McLeod gives $75,000 to Francis Marion University

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Francis Marion University's nursing department has $75,000 more to offer to people who might not be able to achieve the goal of becoming a nurse otherwise.

"The difference between finishing up my last year and not being able to finish up my last year," said Heather Altman, who is a rising senior and scholarship recipient. She said she lost her financial aid she had years past.


McLeod presented a check for $75,000 to the school Monday afternoon. The local hospital has given $800,000 dollars to FMU's nursing department since it began.


The money will go toward student scholarships, which will in turn train more nurses for a field that McLeod Chief Nursing Officer Tony Derrick said is constantly in need of more employees.


"By them producing, it is our future for healthcare, so what we are looking at is helping them sustain a program that will actually give back to our community and ultimately, that's mission-drive for McLeod," Derrick said.


The FMU Nursing program adds 25% more students each year, said Dr. Ruth Whittmann-Price, chair of the FMU nursing department. It's also adding more specializations.


The nurse practitioner and nurse educator MSN programs are now accredited, she said.


"There's also a shortage of nurse educators and it's perhaps even worse than it is with nurses," said Karen Gittings, nurse educator track coordinator. "We increasingly have academic faculty who are retiring."


Also, a master of business administration in healthcare management and an undergraduate healthcare management program will be offered starting this upcoming fall semester, said Tucker Mitchell, spokesperson for FMU.


A physician assistant program will begin fall 2016 when the new health sciences complex is expected to be open for students, Dr. Whittmann-Price said. Graduate psychology students and third and fourth year medical students will have classrooms in the complex. There will also be an interdisciplinary simulation lab where all of the students will be able to work together.


Progress is being made in the construction process for the complex. Steel beams were being placed Monday afternoon for the skeleton of the building.

"We're watching the building go up," Dr. Whittmann-Price said. "We saw the architect's drawings of the building. It's just beautiful. It has everything in it that we wanted plus the simulation lab, so we're real thrilled about the building."


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