February 2, 2000
00-19

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

College of Nursing builds stronger ties with area medical community

As American health care faces a shortage of qualified nurses, Valdosta State University's College of Nursing and its 366 students are working to find new ways to meet nursing needs throughout the region.

The College of Nursing will use its Third Annual Endowment Gathering�set for 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Valdosta Country Club�as an opportunity to continue building better relationships with the community. The evening will focus on examples of successful nursing graduates.

Interaction is critical to the education of nursing students, according to Dr. MaryAnn Reichenbach, dean of the VSU College of Nursing. VSU offers three degree programs for nursing students: the generic Baccalaureate in Nursing (B.S.N.), a special Registered Nurse (R.N.) to B.S.N. or Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) track and the M.S.N. program.

Reichenbach said that the hands-on application of nursing skills�whether in classroom simulations or community field experiences�is integral to nursing preparation. The College of Nursing has training relationships with more than 90 clinical agencies as far north as Cordele and as far south as Lake City, Fla. Additionally, faculty regularly recruit area physicians and other health care providers to come in and interact with students, Reichenbach said.

"Area physicians have been very good about giving their time�and that's important to student development," Reichenbach said.

"As a team, we reach out into the community," said Debra Baker, R.N., M.S.N., a VSU nursing instructor. "The care of the patient is a collaborative process. Having a physician who is an expert in his field coming in to speak demonstrates what a team effort health care really is.

"We want to continue that relationship with all our community health care professionals," Baker added.

Dr. Gregory Beale, M.D., chief of staff at South Georgia Medical Center, is one area physician who supports the College of Nursing's outreach efforts.

"The local hospital is always needing new nurses, and it's nice for hospital physicians to be able to interact with nursing students," Beale said. "I feel like nurses are equally important in the care of the patient�nurses do the hands-on care."

Tickets are on sale now as the VSU College of Nursing prepares to hold its Third Annual Endowment Gathering at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Valdosta Country Club. A reception begins at 6 p.m.

Members of the community are invited to attend. Cost is $25 per person, and dress is semi-formal. Money raised will benefit College of Nursing programs.

For more information or reservations, call 229-333-5959.