Old hospital becomes new training ground for local nurses
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A ribbon-cutting was held Thursday for Augusta Technical College’s new health sciences campus.
A year ago, University Health System – now known as Piedmont Augusta – entered a partnership with the college giving the school the use of a mostly unused Summerville hospital for educating health sciences students.
The college is now moving its its entire health sciences program to the former hospital at 2660 Wrightsboro Road.
The ceremony featured remarks from Piedmont Augusta CEO Jim Davis and Augusta Technical College President Dr. Jermaine Whirl.
There were also tours of the the office, classroom space and hospital setting.
“The average American isn’t aware of the severity of the nursing shortage in our country,” explained Piedmont Augusta Board Chairman Hugh Hamilton. “Our Summerville campus was underutilized, and Augusta Tech needed room to grow their health sciences programs.”
He called Thursday “a great day for Augusta and future nursing students.”
Whirl said the opening “is one of the most transformative projects undertaken in the Augusta region.”
He said the facilities at the former hospital surpass “anything we could have built ourselves” or accomplished in a simulated lab environment.
“The ability to utilize the millions of dollars’ worth of technology in the hospital, while accessing the medical professionals working here, will ensure our students have a seamless experience from classroom to the hospital floor,” he said.
He said Piedmont Augusta Foundation’s work in establishing a $1 million endowment to fully cover the expense of the registered nurse program “is a game changer for students who have financial barriers to entry but are committed to patients’ care.“
The hospital was used for a time for COVID patients, but those were later moved back to the main Piedmont Augusta campus, leaving the Summerville campus largely unused.
The college plans to graduate 200 nurses in five years and to double its allied health graduates each year, thanks to the partnership.
The Augusta Tech’s School of Health Sciences is home to more than 23 programs of study including nursing, surgical technology, respiratory care, radiologic technology, cardiovascular technology, occupational therapy assistant and other high-demand health sciences programs.
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