East Texas Organizations Create Tyler Junior College Nursing School
By MEGAN MIDDLETON
JACKSONVILLE — Leaders from Tyler Junior College, East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, Trinity Mother Frances Health System and the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation came together Friday to formally announce the formation of a partnership to create a School of Nursing at ETMC-Jacksonville.
“This is really a great day,” TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said at a joint press conference in Jacksonville Friday. “We’re doing something today that will touch the future for generations to come.”
Metke said this could not have been done without each of the partners.
“Partnerships work the best when they’re mutually beneficial, and this is really one where everybody wins,” he said.
ETMC is providing 4,500 square feet at ETMC-Jacksonville for four classrooms, two labs and offices to house the school. The hospital is giving up 17 hospital rooms to be demolished and remodeled to make space for the nursing school. The lease agreement is for five years.
“We had the space to do it,” Jack Endres, administrator for ETMC-Jacksonville, said of housing the program. “It was the best utilization of that space that we could think of. We were thrilled with the opportunity to put it to good use. We’re thinking long term, and long term we really need to have availability of a qualified nursing staff. Having a school right on our campus is just wonderful.
“ETMC-Jacksonville has a long history with Tyler Junior College and the nursing program and unfortunately it had to be suspended some years back,” Endres said. “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to bring it back to Jacksonville and make it even larger and a better program than it was before.”
Endres said this program is “extremely needed.”
“ETMC-Jacksonville probably has at least 14 openings for nurses right now. I’m sure Mother Frances is probably about the same. We’re all constantly looking for qualified nurses to fill vacancies in our hospitals,” he said.
He said he is confident this program will fill up quickly.
Darrell Prcin, president of Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, said JEDCO got involved because there is a “true nursing need in Jacksonville and Cherokee County.”
“There are nursing shortages and continues to be,” Prcin said. “Anytime you can partner with a great college like TJC and bring in both hospitals, it’s just inherent that JEDCO also be involved in that process because it does have true economic benefit for Jacksonville.”
JEDCO will contribute about $240,000 up front for start-up costs, providing a total of about $360,000 over the course of three years, officials said.
“We’re not in TJC’s taxing district, so we’re able to utilize those dollars for that,” Prcin said. “We’re just extremely proud of it. It’s just a great use of economic development dollars. It provides professional jobs in Jacksonville.”
Trinity Mother Frances Health System will provide $225,000 — $75,000 a year for three years — to help fund faculty members.
Tom Cammack, the chief administrative officer for Trinity Mother Frances-Jacksonville, said during Friday’s press conference that it’s unbelievable how quickly this partnership has come together.
“I think this is a grand opportunity for our young folks in this community as well as in this county as well as in this area who have been contemplating and thinking about going to nursing school and having a career in nursing, but for whatever reason, travel costs now included, maybe couldn’t quite get there,” Cammack said. “This is going to allow a lot of folks to stay right here … stay in this community and go to school and get a degree in nursing.
“I think it’s going to help with the supply tremendously, with staffing our hospitals, doctors’ offices and other programs that are vital to the health needs of our community.”COURSE INFORMATION
TJC will offer pre-requisite courses needed to qualify for entry and completion of nursing and other health-related programs.
The first class to be scheduled will be the 12-month Vocational Nurse Education (VNE) program for LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) preparation. This venue of TJC’s VNE program, which was formerly housed at ETMC-Jacksonville, will start Aug. 25, pending completion of construction or procurement of an interim classroom site, according to TJC information.
The associate degree nursing transitions program designed for LVNs to move into the second year of the ADN (Associate Degree Nursing) program has a planned start date of Oct. 20. These students will complete their RN (Registered Nurse) program in December 2009.
An application period of June 2 through July 18 has been established.
Paul Monagan, TJC dean of allied health and nursing, urges individuals interested in any of the Jacksonville-based programs or courses to contact the advising office of the TJC School of Allied Health and Nursing at 903-510-2662.