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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

UNCP, SRMC cut ribbon on nursing center

With a backdrop of 50 uniformed nursing students, UNC Pembroke and Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC) celebrated a partnership and cut the ribbon September 15 on a new Instructional Technology Center.

UNCP launched its four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program this fall, and SRMC gave it a home in its renovated 9,800 square-foot Corporate Services Building. The program will enroll 200 students by 2007.

Nursing lab – Tabitha Britt Hastings, left, and Jennifer Henley in one of five nursing labs

Nursing lab – Tabitha Britt Hastings, left, and Jennifer Henley in one of five nursing labs

Before the ribbon was cut, a third partner joined the celebration. Healthkeeperz, a regional, comprehensive home healthcare provider in Pembroke, N.C., contributed $250,000 to endow a distinguished professorship in the Nursing Department.

SRMC’s Patient Care Services Department announced a $5,000 contribution to create an endowed scholarship.

UNCP Chancellor Allen C. Meadors and SRMC President Luckey Welsh praised the power of partnership.

“This is truly a first class facility,” Chancellor Meadors said. “Professional nursing education and healthcare in Southeastern North Carolina has taken a step forward.”

“Nursing education is one of our paramount missions,” Welsh said. “I am proud to be in a partnership to bring nursing back to this campus for the betterment of our region.”

“What a great sight it is to have 50 outstanding nursing students on our campus,” Welsh said. Speaking to the gathering of nursing students he said, “You will one day – directly or indirectly – save a life.”

Healthkeeperz Founder and Chairman Howard Brooks said the new nursing program will boost nursing of all types in the region.

“We are not making this gift because we have so many resources, but because it is worth the sacrifice to help the development of UNCP’s nursing program,” Brooks said. “It will have a ripple effect throughout the region.”

“This nursing program will benefit nursing in home health-care as well, and it will produce positive outcomes for our patients and holistically lift the health of our region,” Brooks said.

The new Instructional Technology Center has classrooms, offices and five laboratories for clinical training. The home health lab was named in honor of Brooks and his late wife, Brenda B. Books.

The Brenda B. Brooks Distinguished Professorship in Nursing will be endowed over five years and matched by the state. It will bolster the faculty of the Nursing Department.

Jessica Bell and Kelly Avant in the health assessment lab

Jessica Bell and Kelly Avant in the health assessment lab

The Gail Davis Endowed Nursing Scholarship is named for SRMC’s outgoing vice president for Patient Care Services. Davis recalled nursing training in an earlier day in the same building.

“Nurses like me lived here for three to four years,” said Davis. “Listen carefully students; hear us and follow in our footsteps.”

Davis’ career spanned five decades. She announced her retirement the day before the ribbon cutting.

UNCP has trained nurses since 1992 in a BSN program for Registered Nurses. Last spring, the University cleared final hurdles for a four-year, pre-licensure program. The program earned accreditation in May 2005 from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for 10 years without recommendations.

SRMC and UNCP invested approximetely $400,000 in the Instructional Technology Center. Brooks and Healtkeeperz contributed to the home health lab.

Headquartered in in Pembroke, N.C., Healthkeeperz employs 560 in its home health, medical equipment, pharmacy and respiratory care programs that serve the region.

SRMC is a regional, comprehensive health care provider with 1,900 employees and more than 125 doctors on staff.

About 200 attended the ribbon cutting on SRMC’s Lumberton campus.

For questions about UNCP’s nursing program, please call 910.775.4140 or email nursing@uncp.edu. For questions about SRMC, please contact Ann Stephens at 910.671.5018 or stephe01@srmc.org.

Class of 2007

Class of 2007 – Pictured are the 50 members of UNCP’s nursing class of 2007

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