(6/21/11) - As a partner in nursing education for the region, McLeod Health has made continuing contributions to area nursing schools. Support of these valuable educational offerings is again reflected in this year's $100,000 gift to Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) to help maintain its nursing program. This is the eighth consecutive year that McLeod has provided support directly to the nursing program at FDTC.
This is particularly important in offsetting the state and national shortage of nurses. While the downturn in the economy has lead to an easing of the shortage in many areas of the country, many believe this to be temporary.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector of the economy is continuing to grow. As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs likely will be recruited to fill many new positions. The success of area nursing programs, coupled with strong recruiting efforts, will continue to help McLeod and other health care providers in the region improve their vacancy rates considerably.
"Our region needs nurses for hospitals, home health services, hospice care, physician offices, school nursing programs and a variety of other areas of health care," stated Leannne Huminski, Chief Nursing Officer for McLeod Regional Medical Center. "Nurses constitute the largest healthcare occupation. Approximately sixty percent of nursing jobs are located within a hospital setting so it is vitally important to McLeod that Florence-Darlington Technical College continues to educate nurses."
On Monday, June 20, 2011, McLeod representatives: Leanne Huminski, Chief Nursing Officer for McLeod Regional Medical Center; Tim Hess, McLeod Vice President of Human Resources & Training; and FDTC graduate and McLeod Registered Nurse, Wesley Jacobs, presented the gift to Florence-Darlington Technical College officials Dr. Charles Gould, President; Dr. Vivian Lilly, Associate Vice President of Health and Sciences; and Jill Heiden, Executive Director, FDTC Education Foundation; thanking the college for its commitment to the future recruitment and retention of skilled medical professionals in the region.
According to Huminksi, nurses serve an important role in the delivery of quality health care. "McLeod recognizes the value of the nurses' contribution in patient care. There is never time off for nursing. They provide care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, serving as the patient advocate as well as the eyes and ears of the physician. Nurses need critical thinking skills, and must be technically savvy; but more importantly they have a heart for caring for patients. Without competent nurses, McLeod would be incapable of carrying out its mission of providing quality health care for patients in the region."
Jacobs is a McLeod Registered Nurse who graduated from the Florence-Darlington Technical College Nursing Program in August 2009 where he was awarded the Thelma Lair Award and the Clinical Nurse Award, which are given in recognition of excellent clinical practice by a student nurse.
"My education received at FDTC was top notch," said Jacobs. "My classroom education, in addition to my hospital-based clinical experience truly helped me prepare for my challenging nursing career. At McLeod, the staff works with the nursing students to get them involved with patient care -- to help them put their clinical skills learned into practice."
Because nurses are so vital to health care and the region's economy, the Pee Dee is very fortunate to have nursing education programs in Florence at Florence-Darlington Technical College and Francis Marion University. McLeod Health provides funds in support of both.
"These two programs are the cornerstones for McLeod's recruiting," said Tim Hess, Vice President of McLeod Human Resources & Training. "We are fortunate to have a continuous supply of exceptional nurses graduating locally from which to recruit."
Huminski stated, "These nursing programs are also vital to McLeod as the medical center continues to grow and expand to meet the needs of the region's patients as well as offer enhanced services which will require additional staffing and nurses."
Florence-Darlington Technical College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) that allows students to prepare for Registered Nurse (RN) boards in five semesters.
"This gift will help provide necessary and needed funding for our student nurses that will one day share their life saving skills with their families, friends and neighbors," said Heiden.
"This generous gift from McLeod Health is a fine example of the ongoing partnership between the hospital and our college," said Dr. Gould.
"The relationship and financial support of nursing education is vital to McLeod and the Pee Dee," added Huminski. "The region and the state need these nurses. They are the lifeblood in the provision of top quality, competent health care in our community."