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Kansas Wesleyan University

Salina Regional Health Center’s Board of Trustees has a vision for the future of nursing education, and Kansas Wesleyan is the focal point. 

The hospital Board of Trustees announced this week that it will donate a total of $1 million to KWU to secure that future in the form of $600,000 in cash, plus a former doctor’s office, valued at $400,000, so that the university can establish a stand-alone Nursing Education Center on its campus. 

The lead gift from SRHC marks the launch of the university’s $4.5 million campaign for the new Nursing Center. 

The building, located at 135 E. Claflin Ave., is the former offices of Dr. Merle Hodges and the Salina Women’s Clinic. It will be the first new instruction-only facility on campus in 50 years and will include inside and outside renovations. 

Joel Phelps, President/Chief Operating Officer of Salina Regional Health Center, said the dual donation is all part of the community focus for the medical group. “We feel privileged to be a community partner with Kansas Wesleyan in building future services to train nurses,” he said. 

“This effort falls right in line with the mission of Salina Regional Health Center and serving the health care needs of the region,” Phelps said. “We believe this program will help produce quality nurses who will serve North Central Kansas.” 

 KWU Board of Trustees Chair Emily-May Richards echoed that sentiment. “We are appreciative and grateful for these gifts, past gifts, and the continuing support of Kansas Wesleyan by Salina Regional,” she said. “Nursing is critical for the future of our greater community, and Salina Regional, through its generosity, is leading the way.”

Kansas Wesleyan President and CEO Dr. Matt Thompson said that once the total capital for the project is raised, work is anticipated to begin late this summer, with a targeted completion date of late fall 2020. 

The 13,400-square-foot, two-floor building will house a performance lab, simulation suite, testing area, large classrooms, a multi-media conference room, student study area and faculty offices. 

The simulation and clinical laboratories give students hands-on practice in bedside care, simulated patient scenarios and collaborative learning opportunities with other health care disciplines, all leading to a comprehensive nursing education, preparing students to go into immediate practice after passing national board certification testing and licensing. The renovation is designed to handle educational facilities for 80 Nursing students – 40 each in the junior and senior classes. Kansas Wesleyan Nursing students spend two years with basic studies and enter concentrated Nursing Education coursework their final two years. 

Thompson said it is an honor to be partnered with Salina Regional to advance patient care opportunities for students, and to serve the health care needs of the community at large. “The largesse of Salina Regional Health Center is unquestioned, and I would offer that it is likely unequaled in other communities of our size,” he said. “I truly believe Kansas Wesleyan and Salina are blessed to have a health care facility that not only has a vision, but has the foresight to act on that vision for the greater good.” 

The Nursing program at KWU was established in January 1988 after the Asbury Hospital program was moved to the university. The Department of Nursing Education initiated an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1989, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program in 1990. 

Starting in 2014, the need for major program revisions was identified. In the summer of 2015, new full-time Nursing faculty with advanced nursing degrees were hired. In 2017, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree was converted to a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing degree so that new curriculum ideas could be implemented. KWU also offers an online RN to BS  Nursing degree program for students who are licensed RNs wanting to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The university’s Nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 

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