In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing health-care environment, the opportunities for nurses are virtually unparalleled. Students in Francis Marion University’s Nursing Program are being educated to meet the demand and to pursue nursing paths that align with their interests and professional goals.
FMU junior Ashley Perry Bryant of Hartsville, found herself stuck at the collegiate fork in the road and wondering which path to take when she graduated from high school. In the end, she chose the road that is more frequently traveled than ever before – nursing. When asked why she chose nursing as a major, she quickly answered, “Patient care.”
When her father was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, Bryant said she learned first-hand the special care nurses take with patients.
“The nurses cared for him and were with him through everything,” she said. “At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.”
It was pretty clear Bryant didn’t begin with nursing in mind since she first attended the University of South Carolina where she majored in business.
Homesick, she soon transferred from USC to FMU.
“I missed home and felt I needed to be here,” Bryant said. “Besides that, I wanted to be a nurse and help people, care for people.”
The FMU Nursing Program emphasizes caring on a whole different level, she said.
“Care and compassion are at the core of the program,” Bryant said. “Connect with that patient.”
FMU’s nursing program was growing and founded on a solid foundation, she said.
The Medical University of South Carolina began operating a satellite nursing program at Francis Marion in 1982. FMU President Fred Carter and MUSC President Raymond S. Greenberg agreed in 2004 to transfer control of the program to FMU. Sylvia Lufkin was hired that year to head FMU’s new Department of Nursing, and she has led the effort to hire faculty, develop the curriculum and library resources, recruit students and obtain all necessary accreditations and state approvals.
Bricks and mortar came with the $5.5 million donation made by the Drs.
Bruce and Lee Foundation of Florence toward the Dr. Frank B. Lee Nursing Building, a $7.6
million, 30,000-plus square foot building to house FMU’s stand-alone baccalaureate nursing program. Located just north of the campus pond and adjacent to the McNair Science Building, the two-story building contains all classrooms, patient care labs and support spaces needed for an expanded nursing program at FMU.
Enrollment in the program has doubled since its inception. That increase may have come from the quality of the program, said Bryant.
“I’ve had a great experience in the program,” she said. “You’re taught all these things and then you get to see patients and see the impact you have on their lives.”
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