Four donated to nursing simulation labs
Asheville-based Mission Health recently donated four hospital beds to Western Carolina University for use in its nursing simulation laboratories in Cullowhee and at its off-campus instructional site in Biltmore Park.
Two of the beds are now in use in the simulation lab in the Health and Human Sciences Building in Cullowhee and two are in use in the lab at Biltmore Park in south Asheville.
Mission Health also is providing a set of new intravenous infusion pumps for use by WCU nursing and health sciences students in training labs. The gifts of hospital beds and IV pumps, valued at approximately $15,000, are among the latest examples of philanthropic support that the region’s largest health care facility is providing to WCU.
In addition to donation and delivery of the medical equipment, Mission Health recently began a five-year partnership with WCU that will fund a new nursing faculty member to help improve access to nursing education, and created an annual scholarship to provide financial support to WCU students in two health care fields.
Mission Health is providing a total of $650,000 over a five-year period to enable WCU to hire an additional faculty member in the School of Nursing, which will allow the acceptance of 10 more qualified nursing students beginning fall 2023. State regulations require one nursing instructor for every 10 students.
Also involved in Mission’s initiative are Asheville-Buncombe Technical and Blue Ridge community colleges.
“As we face the many challenges in health care staffing, we are looking for creative solutions to strengthen partnerships with our local schools,” said Fran Paschall, Mission Health’s chief nurse executive. “Funding a role at each of these schools is one of the steps we are taking to help relieve the nursing shortage and help qualified applicants attend our local schools.”
Launched last May, the HCA Mission Health Academic Partnership Fund will provide $130,000 annually over a five-year period to Western for salary for an additional faculty member in the School of Nursing. Appointment of the faculty member will occur at the discretion of the university through its usual academic hiring processes.
The faculty member funded through the partnership will schedule student nursing clinical rotations at HCA-affiliated hospitals.
Mission Health, through the Mission Health Hospital Manager, in September 2022 also created a new scholarship fund providing $5,000 in annual support to WCU students in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Called the Mission Health Community Scholars Annual Scholarship, the fund will generate $2,000 in financial assistance for emergency medical care students and $3,000 for nursing undergraduates.
The first scholarships will be awarded for the 2023-24 academic year that begins in August.
Support of WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences through contributions and in-kind gifts launched in 2022 is part of Mission Health’s commitment to increase the pipeline of qualified health care professionals, said Chuck Tucker, associate vice president of academic affairs for HCA Healthcare’s Center for Clinical Advancement.
“Mission Health and HCA want to collaborate with WCU and other institutions of higher education across Western North Carolina to ensure there are enough health care professionals to meet the future needs of a growing region,” said Tucker, a 1988 WCU nursing graduate and former School of Nursing faculty member. “It is important we do all we can to help combat the health care crisis in the U.S.”