USC Salkehatchie’s Rural Nursing Initiative broadens program

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åUSC Salkehatchie’s bachelor of science in nursing in Walterboro will now partner with the USC Beaufort campus instead of USC Columbia to deliver high quality nursing education. Since 2006, the College of Nursing partnership program has supplied these rural communities with more than 100 highly qualified RNs with bachelor’s degrees in nursing — the majority of graduates continue to serve in and around the Salkehatchie region.

Administrators at the three campuses worked together to gain approval from appropriate governing bodies, helping to ensure a smooth transition and prevent gaps in education among the students. “In an effort to enhance our ability to reduce the shortage of BSN-level RNs in the rural Salkehatchie region, we hope to increase the number of students accepted into the program at some point in the future,” said April Cone, DNP, MSN, RN and nursing academic program manager for USC College of Nursing and USC Salkehatchie.

“Re-aligning with a program closer to these rural communities allows for face-to-face instruction versus distance instruction by faculty dedicated to the Salkehatchie students, a significant increase in use of the high-tech clinical simulation lab on USC Salkehatchie’s Walterboro campus, and an increase in local healthcare agency affiliations to enhance clinical education,” stated Cone.

Because of funding from private foundations, USC Salkehatchie in Walterboro is able to offer high fidelity simulation training. The lab provides nursing students and area healthcare providers with a centrally located, state-of-the-art, dynamic simulation lab training facility, eliminating travel for simulation activities.

“The mission of the USC Salkehatchie Rural Nursing Initiative remains the same — to grow our own nurses in hope they will remain in the Salkehatchie region to work and improve the overall health of those within our local communities,” she said.

For five consecutive years, 100% of the program’s graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN (state board exam for registered nurses) on their first attempt, a remarkable accomplishment USC Salk administration hopes to see continue.

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