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Methodist Healthcare and UTHSC Announce Partnership in Nursing


Methodist Healthcare and UTHSC announced a unique partnership between the health system’s School of Nursing and the university’s College of Nursing at a press conference held Tuesday, August 19.

Methodist Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) announced a unique partnership between the health system’s School of Nursing and the university’s College of Nursing at a press conference held at 10 a.m. today at the Methodist School of Nursing auditorium. The partnership’s primary purpose is to enhance the delivery of nursing care by offering educational opportunities ranging from pursuit of an entry-level bachelor’s degree in nursing, continuing on with the master’s degree and concluding with the doctoral degree.

According to Methodist Healthcare senior vice president and chief nurse executive, Donna Herrin, MSN, RN, CNAA, CHE, the transition for the Methodist diploma program has already begun. In its place will be a new and innovative program creating a career path that will enable individuals to enter the educational continuum at different points with minimum redundancies.

“Like all hospitals across the country, Methodist Healthcare feels the impact of a national nursing shortage; therefore, it is essential that this program be implemented as soon as possible to meet workplace demands, as well as deliver the highest level of patient care and safety,” said Herrin. “Implementing innovative educational programs like this will enable us to reach our goal for quality patient outcomes.”

Dean of The UTHSC College of Nursing, Donna K. Hathaway, PhD, RN, FAAN, commented, “UTHSC has been focused on graduate education, and this new program will offer a comprehensive educational continuum. Although the partnership will become effective immediately, a transition will occur over the next two years as Methodist graduates their last

diploma class in 2005. With support from Methodist, we will begin the process of designing a new curriculum to reinstate our entry-level bachelor’s in nursing program and integrate it more closely with our master’s and doctoral programs.”

Susan Jacob, PhD, RN, who has served as Dean and Professor of the Union University School of Nursing since 1999, will be joining UTHSC effective September 15 to establish and implement the educational continuum that is being developed through this partnership. Prior to working with Union, she was with the University of Memphis Loewenberg School of Nursing for 15 years.

Dr. Jacob commented, “This strategic alliance will allow Methodist Healthcare and The UTHSC College of Nursing to share resources and combine strengths to ensure a well-educated and highly functional nursing workforce. It is exciting to envision the new opportunities for quality student-centered educational programs and satisfying nursing career paths that will be developed as a result of this partnership.”

UTHSC Interim Chancellor, Jim Gibb Johnson, MD, said, “This is one more way we can affiliate with Methodist Healthcare to ensure our students are provided the best educational experiences possible. We are also pleased to have Methodist School of Nursing graduates become members of our alumni association. We welcome them as a vital part of the UT family; and hopefully, this new, innovative career path will provide them opportunities to further their education.”

Methodist Healthcare president and CEO, Gary Shorb, said the partnership marks an historical moment for Methodist, UTHSC and the community.

“This is truly a milestone for healthcare in this community and beyond,” Shorb said. “The Methodist School of Nursing has always provided a high quality educational experience for nurses, and we are proud of that tradition and the excellent nurses our program has produced. This transition has been thoughtfully planned to ensure that individuals going through the new program receive the highest quality of classroom and clinical education. As nursing becomes more and more complex and demanding, we need to ensure that nurses are prepared to meet the challenge of delivering a high level of specialized care. Ultimately, patient outcomes and safety will be enhanced.” Shorb said.

Also, as part of the partnership, Herrin was appointed The UTHSC College of Nursing Assistant Dean of Nursing for Methodist Healthcare. As a part of the College of Nursing leadership, she will be involved with the establishment of the new program and continued collaborative relationships between the two entities.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing already recognizes the significance of this new program, as Herrin and Dr. Hathaway have already been invited to participate in an invitational work group that will look at innovative designs to prepare clinical nurse leaders. Select groups of service and academic partners from across the country have been invited to participate in this event to be held this fall.