Livingston Regional donates $25k to TTU Nursing effort

Livingston Regional Hospital has taken a proactive approach to a looming nationwide nursing shortage by investing in future nurses.

The hospital and its parent corporation, Lifepoint Hospitals Inc. of Brentwood, recently completed a $25,000 donation to the Tennessee Technological University School of Nursing building campaign. A new facility for the school will help TTU double the number of qualified nurses it graduates with bachelor’s degrees each year.

“We currently have about 20 Tennessee Tech nursing graduates on our staff at Livingston Regional,” said Tim McGill, CEO. “So we see the value of the program. A long-term critical nursing shortage is looming, and we want to help train more nurses in this region for the future. We hope our small part in this effort will have a big impact.”

The hospital is helping the TTU nursing program in other ways, too. Recently, about 7 or 8 junior level nursing students began working at the hospital each semester on practicum training programs. While there they start to apply in a real-life setting what they learn in the classroom.

“This type of hands-on training benefits both the students and the hospital,” said Michelle Watson, Livingston Regional’s COO and Chief Nursing Officer. “It prepares the students for what nursing is like in the real world, and it keeps our staff nurses challenged, so they stay more attuned to current issues in the nursing profession.”

TTU kicked off its $21 million fund-raising campaign for the nursing facility earlier this year. When completed, the program will feature a state-of-the-art nursing facility for the school and student Health Services office. It will also house a center for rural nursing, focusing on the special health-related needs of the local rural communities.

Predictions indicate a national nursing shortage is pending, reaching about a million by 2010. Within the next 15 years, 50 percent of all nursing educators in both the state and nation are expected to retire, statistics show.

“This is an important investment,” said TTU President Bob Bell. “And one for which we are truly grateful.”

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PHOTO CUTLINE: Making the final installment on Livingston Regional Hospital’s $25,000 pledge to support the Tennessee Tech University nursing building campaign are, from left, Michelle Watson, LRH chief operating officer and chief nursing officer, and Tim McGill, LRH chief executive officer. Standing with them in front of an artist’s rendering of the proposed TTU Nursing facility are Bob Bell, TTU president; Marilyn Musacchio, TTU Nursing dean; and Tom Hamilton, TTU associate vice president of University Advancement.