NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and the NRMC Foundation formalized a memorandum of understanding that will fund a faculty position in NSU’s College of Nursing for five years.
Administrators say the venture will help NRMC recruit and employ NSU nursing graduates within their service area and meet nursing shortage demands.
“Funding a professorship leads to our mission of healthcare. We consider NSU a partner and we look at this as an investment – not an expense – but an investment in our community,” said Kirk Soileau, NRMC chief executive officer.
“We are blessed to be able to do this,” said Sidney Evans, president of the NRMC Foundation. “Our donors make it possible to impact our community through attendance at Foundation events, donations and support.”
Northwestern State’s nursing degree was the first baccalaureate program in Louisiana and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country with a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX, the national licensure examination that each state board uses to determine whether a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice. In addition to its nursing campus in Shreveport, NSU offers clinicals in Natchitoches, Alexandria and Leesville.
“We have the best nursing school in the state and our faculty is nationally recognized,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “There is a need for nurses and, through our partnerships, we have been able to expand and make our programs even more robust. We appreciate Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and the NRMC Foundation for stepping forward in enhancing our university and our community.”
Dr. Dana Clawson, dean of NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, said that not only are NSU nursing graduates prepared academically, they are also trained to interact with patients and families in a caring and compassionate manner and are required to develop teambuilding and mentoring skills before they graduate.
“Since our university is no longer primarily state-funded, we are supported by our community partnerships which are essential to make growth possible,” Clawson said.
The NRMC Foundation was established in 1987 to support the hospital’s mission of providing a continuum of care from newborns to centennials. Since its inception, the NRMC Foundation has provided over $400,000 in financial assistance to students in the fields of nursing, radiology, laboratory sciences and pharmacology who have returned to work in the health care field at NRMC.
Last year, NRMC’s nurses achieved the prestigious Pathway to Excellence designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. NRMC was one of 162 organizations nationwide and one of two in Louisiana to earn the designation, which recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate the essential elements of an ideal nursing practice environment.
“The heart of the Foundation is to address the nursing shortage,” said Tom Matuschka, NRMC’s vice president of business development and philanthropy. “This partnership will help us hire excellent nurses, meet the needs we have and support our Pathway to Excellence designation.”
In 2018, NRMC was ranked 49th nationally on the Top 100 SafeCare Hospitals list for its efforts in outcome, quality, safety and resource utilization. Only about 2 percent of all U.S. hospitals earn the distinction with the top 50 representing the top 1 percent in performance.
“At the end of the day, we provide amazing care, but what makes the difference is the personal relationships we have with patients and their families” Soileau said.
“From the CNO [Chief Nursing Officer] perspective, it’s all about the patient connection,” said Julie Klymas, NRMC’s vice president of clinical services and chief nursing executive. “At the core you have to have a passion for the sick.”
NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health offers degree programs in nursing and radiologic science at the associate, bachelor’s master’s and doctoral levels, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificate programs. NSU has agreements in place with other institutions around the state that allow for credit transfers and is developing more programs to facilitate career mobility for healthcare professionals and those seeking a career in healthcare, Clawson said.
More information about NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health is available at nursing.nsula.edu.