ADA – Thanks to a valued partnership between two institutions and the Texoma Health Foundation, the East Central University at Southeastern Nursing Department in Durant is receiving a $55,000 grant to update its facility.
The update will help expand opportunities for nursing candidates.
“We would not have been able to accomplish this without the help of the Texoma Health Foundation. This is a major cooperative effort by two institutions of higher learning and the Texoma Health Foundation,” said ECU President John R. Hargrave. “It will help our students, placing them in a more enhanced learning environment and benefit the residents of a four-county area in Oklahoma and Texas.”
The grant, provided by the Texoma Health Foundation, will help accommodate 32 additional nursing students, for a total of 95, in the program on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus.
“Nursing is a priority, a high priority. We value our partnership with the ECU at Southeastern program and we really wanted to see its continued growth,” said Michelle Lemming, president and CEO of the Texoma Health Foundation. “We continue to see a shortage of nurses in the Texoma area and really throughout the nation. But we hear it with hospitals and other health facilities we partner with that ECU graduates are in their facilities making a difference.”
The plan involves two parts: a) removal of the wall between the current computer lab and the current physical assessment lab to expand the student computer lab; and b) create space for a new physical assessment lab.
“We will have the ability to test students in one room, instead of dividing them up at different times,” said Kristy Calloway, new director ECU at Southeastern Nursing Department. “This (project) gives us greater ability to practice skills and simulations.”
Calloway, a certified nursing educator, has served as an instructor in Durant since 2009 and recently succeeded Dr. Deborah Flowers as the program coordinator after Flowers retired.
“Dr. Flowers had a really good program going and we hope to continue that,” said Calloway. “We do want to improve the program by continuing to develop physical space and update facilities.”
With the larger class size and to maintain an enrollment of 95 students, the end result of the improvements will ultimately make more nurses available to help provide needed medical care to residents who live in Grayson and Fannin Counties in Texas and Bryan and Marshall Counties in Oklahoma.
The ECU at Southeastern Nursing Department has the only program in that four-county area that prepares baccalaureate nurses in the medical field.
“The support of the Texoma Health Foundation will allow us to continue to grow the nursing program. This is critical as we partner with ECU to meet the needs of our students, and ultimately the expanding needs of the nursing profession in the region,” said Dr. Douglas McMillan, vice president for academic affairs at Southeastern Oklahoma State.
The ECU Department of Nursing faculty’s retention efforts have resulted in a 33.8 percent increase in student population on the Durant campus over the past academic year, creating the need for more physical space, specifically the larger computer lab, along with the physical assessment lab.
The updated computer lab is needed because the faculty incorporates enhanced learning activities, using informatics and electronic health records.