For Kansas Wesleyan College nursing college students and their instructors, it most likely looks like Christmas has come slightly early this yr.
Their division is within the means of shifting into its new $5.5 million Nursing Training Heart, positioned in a former medical workplace constructing at 135 E. Claflin, simply north of the principle KWU campus. The objective is to have all of the tools and furnishings moved into the brand new facility earlier than the college’s Christmas break that begins Dec. 23, so it’s prepared when lessons resume in January. Harbin Building is the overall contractor on the undertaking.
Janeane Houchin, director of Nursing Training at KWU, stated she will be able to’t wait to relocate to the brand new state-of-the-art facility.
“Each time I get to stroll by way of it, it turns into slightly extra actual,” she stated. “It’s a dream come true. We’re simply so blessed, and we’re so excited to get into the brand new house.”
That dream of a brand new nursing schooling middle had been percolating for a while. Houchin stated the nursing program is at present restricted to half of the third ground of Peters Science Corridor. The brand new 13,400-square-foot, two-floor constructing will home a efficiency lab, simulation suite, testing space, giant lecture rooms, a multi-media convention room, scholar examine space and school places of work.
Houchin is particularly happy with the simulation suite, which options precisely detailed hospital room environments. Every room may have its personal “head wall,” which incorporates plug-ins for oxygen, suction and different tools, to simulate a real-life acute care atmosphere.
Simulation schooling will not be new to the KWU nursing program, however Houchin stated the brand new facility will present a big leap ahead in technological design.
“It’s going to really feel like they’ve walked right into a hospital setting,” she stated. “For a nursing scholar, that’s actually essential.”
She added that simulation schooling offers a protected atmosphere the place nursing college students can study from errors with out real-world penalties.
“I at all times inform college students there will probably be no funeral plan or loss of life certificates issued when you, God forbid, kill the model,” she stated. “It’s a protected place to study. That’s simply enormous for us.”
Whereas the technological improvements are essential, Houchin stated it was additionally a private objective to make the ability a heat and alluring house for her nursing college students, proper right down to an electrical fire within the foyer. She needed the constructing to really feel extra like somebody’s residence relatively than a sterile, intimidating atmosphere.
“It takes a number of emotional help to get by way of this program,” she stated. “We now have an expression – ‘We take ’em to lift ’em.’ We’re rather a lot like their prolonged household and their different moms. We needed that to be obvious from the second college students walked by way of the entrance door.”
Ken Oliver, vice chairman of development, admissions and advertising at KWU, stated some potential donors to the undertaking had been on board with the idea for a number of years, having been satisfied of its want by the college’s board of trustees and KWU President Matt Thompson. However some preliminary groundwork needed to be completed earlier than fundraising may start.
A part of that groundwork was incomes a brand new accreditation for the nursing program. This system had been accredited prior to now however had misplaced that accreditation in March 2015, Oliver stated.
Houchin stated being accredited is important within the recruiting course of, and she or he made it a precedence quickly after becoming a member of the KWU college. She was named interim director of nursing schooling in 2016 and have become director the next yr.
“It’s positively a mark of approval and an actual validation to have that accreditation standing,” Houchin stated. “It’s one thing that college students search for when they’re purchasing for nursing applications.”
Earlier than making use of for a brand new accreditation, Houchin stated the nursing program’s curriculum was fully revamped and up to date. Nursing schooling now presents a bachelor of science diploma with a serious in nursing. With that diploma in hand, graduates are certified to take a seat for the Registered Nurse Licensure examination. The varsity additionally presents a separate observe – a bachelor of science completion program, the place college students who have already got their RN by way of an affiliate diploma can full programs to earn their bachelor’s.
Houchin stated revamping the curriculum was pivotal in rebuilding the nursing schooling program.
“We’ve doubled our variety of college students every year since beginning that diploma, so it’s confirmed to be efficient in some ways,” she stated. “We now have 100% go charges for the final three years, in order that positively tells us that what we’re doing is working. That status speaks volumes when recruiting college students.”
This system is structured to accommodate 80 college students, 40 every within the junior and senior lessons. Nursing college students full their common schooling programs throughout their freshman and sophomore years, then enter concentrated nursing coursework throughout their last two years as undergraduates.
With the revamped curriculum and diploma program in place, a brand new accreditation was earned by way of the Fee on Collegiate Nursing Training in 2018. That achievement was the catalyst for the fundraising marketing campaign to kick into excessive gear.
The undertaking was introduced in June 2019, with a objective of $4.5 million. A $1.4 million lead reward from Salina Regional Well being Heart included the donation of the workplace constructing on E. Claflin, valued at $400,000, plus $600,000 to assist with renovations. Different items rapidly adopted, together with $1 million from the Jack and Donna Vanier household, a $750,000 problem grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Basis and a $1.4 million donation from the Salina Regional Well being Basis.
By the top of the summer season, the marketing campaign was already quickly approaching its objective. Further help got here from the Dane G. Hansen Basis and the Sunderland Basis at $250,000 every. By October 2019, with extra beneficiant items in hand from the Salina-based McCune, Middlekauf and Earl Bane foundations, fundraising for the undertaking had already exceeded the $5 million mark.
Oliver pressured that the college additionally acquired innumerable smaller donations from buddies and alumni all through the U.S. that cumulatively put the marketing campaign excessive, together with many with ties to Salina who didn’t graduate from KWU however who needed to offer again to the neighborhood.
“We accomplished our funding marketing campaign about 18 months forward of schedule,” Oliver stated. “We received nice help from high to backside and we can’t be extra happy.”
Oliver stated the items from Salina Regional Well being Heart and the Salina Regional Well being Basis have been particularly important, given the lengthy, mutually helpful relationship between the college and the hospital. He stated that ideally, college students will graduate from KWU with nursing levels after which go to work at Salina Regional. “However we additionally hope they put down roots right here and begin a household, in order that helps the neighborhood of Salina as nicely,” he stated.
Houchin is the SRHC Endowed Chair of Nursing Training, and two Salina Regional employees members – vice chairman of affected person care and chief nursing officer Luanne Smith and director of organizational improvement Kathy Pike – serve on the college’s Nursing Advisory Council.
“We’re very enthusiastic about their wants, so far as guaranteeing that we’re offering an schooling that can produce nurses who can’t solely apply however be assured practitioners,” Houchin stated. “They want nurses, we’d like nursing college students, so it really works very nicely. It’s an excellent relationship for each of us.”
Smith agreed that Salina Regional and Kansas Wesleyan have a terrific relationship. She stated the 2 establishments work collectively to supply a nursing schooling to fill the rising wants of the area with high quality nursing graduates for the long run.
“Our objective is to supply college students with an excellent scientific expertise to reinforce their schooling,” she stated. “Every of our organizations is devoted to growing the variety of high-quality nurses who reside and work in rural Kansas, to make sure the healthcare wants are adequately met. Having nicely educated nursing graduates could be very helpful to Salina Regional and hopefully lots of them will proceed their profession at SRHC.”
For Houchin, the COVID-19 pandemic has launched a brand new variable into the combination in the case of encouraging college students to contemplate a profession in nursing. She stated she wonders whether or not it is going to in the end serve to encourage or to discourage younger ladies and men from pursuing a nursing diploma.
Houchin’s youngest daughter is a nurse at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka and has been featured in native and nationwide newscasts because of her service on the entrance traces combating the pandemic. Houchin stated that by way of that private connection, she has been made very conscious of how difficult it’s to be a nurse.
“However but, if you might want to be wanted, there’s by no means been a higher time to be a nurse,” she stated.