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Nursing graduates ready to serve their communities

Twenty-four nursing students from USC’s Salkehatchie and Lancaster campuses will be the first graduates of a program that allows students there to earn BSN degrees from the College of Nursing without traveling to Columbia for most of their classes or clinical training.

The 14 from Salkehatchie received their nursing degrees May 3, while the 10 students from Lancaster received their degrees May 1. Nursing graduates from the two campuses will also participate in the commencement at the Columbia campus May 7.

Salkehatchie and Lancaster faculty teach the first two years of nursing prerequisites, including anatomy, physiology and microbiology. USC Columbia nursing faculty teach the upper division nursing courses through distance education technology.

“This is a multi-dimensional public/private effort aimed at putting more people to work in health care,” said Ann Carmichael, dean of USC Salkehatchie. “It addresses the rural nursing shortage, puts people to work in higher-paying jobs, and offers opportunities for students who can’t leave their communities because of personal obligations.”

USC Salkehatchie’s program was launched with seed funding from the Sisters of Charity of South Carolina, The Duke Endowment and the S.C. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation. USC Lancaster received a $1 million start-up grant from the Dallas-based Tenet Corporation, which owns Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, a clinical training site for Lancaster nursing students.

Hospitals in the five-county region served by USC Salkehatchie—Colleton Medical Center, Allendale County Hospital, Hampton Regional Medical Center, Bamberg County Hospital and Barnwell County Hospital—provided equipment for training labs at the Allendale and Walterboro campuses.

Salkehatchie and Lancaster currently limit the number of students who can advance to the upper division to 16 students on each campus. Those students complete all of their clinical requirements at hospitals and other healthcare sites close to the respective campuses.

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