University Hospital partners with Augusta Tech on health sciences campus

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:23 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - University Hospital Summerville is currently home to physician practices like cardiology primary care and wound care, outpatient imaging as well as occupational medicine. And the staff is excited to be adding nursing education there, as well.

The plan is to use the buildings as a health science campus for Augusta Technical College students. It’s all a part of a five-year plan to bring more health care professionals into our community.

Right now, Georgia has the fifth-lowest nurse-to-population ratio in the country and South Carolina is last.

As pen hit paper, a new opportunity is coming for local students and hospitals in Augusta.

“It’s a tremendous move. We’re going to have so many more opportunities, so much more space, resources,” said Brendan Alee, occupational assistant student at Augusta Tech.

Phase one of this project will mean Augusta Tech moving its nursing and medical assistant programs to the professional building, where there will be classrooms. There will be three more phases after, but it will take some time.

“I think the size of our facilities there is going to be double or even triple what we have now,” he said.

The pandemic has created an urgent need for health care workers.

“This is a really bad problem heading our way, in fact, I already believe it’s here,” said James Davis, University Health Care System president and CEO.

After five years, this program should graduate 200 nurses, and double every year after.

“Today we would be happy to hire about 200 nurses at University Health Care System. Today if they were available, but they simply aren’t available,” said Davis.

Augusta Tech says 94 percent of its grads end up staying in the CSRA.

“When we graduate any student, they make a living here, they raise a family, that’s an incredible attribute that we can provide for residents,” said Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Augusta Technical College president.

Being able to provide for the community, is something these students live to do.

Alee said: “It’s inspirational and it motivates me to want to learn and get out there and start doing all those things and helping people.”

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