FLORENCE---Carolinas Hospital System is pledging $500,000 to support the new nursing program at Francis Marion University.
Dr. C. Edward Floyd, chairman of Carolinas Hospital System’s Board of Trustees, presented the first $50,000 check to FMU President Fred Carter during a ceremony on campus Tuesday, March 22. The balance will be paid in installments over a five-year period based upon the hospital’s discretion.
The gift will be used to support the operation of the new bachelor’s program in nursing that FMU will begin offering effective July 1.
“The Pee Dee is the only area of South Carolina without a stand-alone bachelor’s program in nursing,” said Dr. Floyd. “Therefore, it’s not surprising then that medical facilities throughout our region face a serious shortage of nurses.”
For that reason, Carolinas’ CEO James F. O’Loughlin said, “Supporting FMU’s efforts to educate more nurses is a perfect fit for Carolinas Hospital System, because we will be a primary employer of many of those nurses.”
Carter said that if Florence is to continue developing as a major medical center, local hospitals should require even more skilled nursing personnel.
“Major gifts like the one from Carolinas Hospital System are critical to our building a strong nursing program,” said Carter. “We are most appreciative of the generous support of Carolinas Hospital System in helping us train nurses,” said Carter. “As part of our academic mission, we want to make sure we are meeting the demands of our primary service area.”
“In addition to financial support for the university, we also are indebted to Carolinas Hospital System for allowing our nursing students to conduct clinical practice within their facility,” said Carter. “This gives our students practical experience in patient healthcare, a critical component to the educational process.”
Carter added that this gift also puts FMU past the $18 million mark in its foundation’s five-year capital campaign. The original goal was $12 million.
The Medical University of South Carolina has operated a satellite nursing program as an adjunct program at Francis Marion since 1982. Carter and MUSC President Raymond S. Greenberg agreed in February 2004 to transfer administrative control of the baccalaureate nursing program to FMU. Carter appointed a seven-member committee to assist with the transition to examine the feasibility of creating other allied health care programs that would be consistent with the mission of FMU. Sylvia R. Lufkin was hired last fall to head FMU’s new Department of Nursing.
Last May, the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation of Florence made a $5 million donation to FMU’s Campaign for Excellence to build a 30,000-plus square foot building to house the new baccalaureate nursing program.
To be located just north of the campus pond and adjacent to the McNair Science Building, the two-story building will contain all classrooms, patient care labs and support spaces needed for an expanded nursing program at FMU. Construction will begin as soon as all necessary state approvals are obtained.
MUSC began the satellite nursing program on the FMU campus in 1982 with five students enrolled. Today, there are 61 students enrolled as undergraduate nursing majors, taught by five faculty members. Over the last 22 years, 462 students have earned degrees through this program. While those degrees were awarded by MUSC, those students completed many courses taught by FMU faculty.
In addition, there are more than 200 pre-nursing majors enrolled at FMU, more than a 100 percent increase since 1999.
“With this many students interested in a nursing career, our goal will be to broaden the program and educate more qualified nurses to meet the needs of the health care profession,” said Carter.
Carolinas Hospital System is a leading 372-bed regional medical facility offering comprehensive services to the people of northeastern South Carolina. The true success of the hospital has been putting the patient at its core by taking innovation and patient-centered care to higher levels.
Together, with its experienced medical staff of over 265, the hospital's 1,500 skilled employees treat patients with a blend of competence and compassion that has put Carolinas Hospital System at the forefront of healthcare providers.
The hospital also has an impressive arsenal of state-of-the-art technological equipment including radiation oncology (IMRT) services, CT, MRI, filmless radiology, breast imaging and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and is leading the charge to eradicate heart disease in our region by offering a comprehensive program (including pioneering surgical techniques such as the MAZE) to maximize quality of life for its patients.
The third largest employer in Florence County and an active recruiter of healthcare professionals, Carolinas Hospital System's vision is to be the employer and hospital of choice in the state of South Carolina.
#121 / 3-22-05