Yesterday I had the wonderful pleasure of welcoming the first class of Nurse Anesthesia students to be enrolled in the newly accredited Southern Miss Nurse Anesthesia Program. The 20 students talked about their excitement of being able to achieve this educational dream at Southern Miss and their apprehension of the program’s rigor. They are beginning an educational journey that will provide them with the competencies and knowledge needed to be certified as a nurse anesthetist, as well as, the skills to assume leadership in their practice area and in the health care arena.
The implementation of the Nurse Anesthesia Program is another landmark in the history of Southern Miss nursing and is the only nurse anesthesia degree granting program in Mississippi. This program is a 36 month, post-baccalaureate to Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
We look forward to the success of this inaugural class.
Fall semester ended this past week with finals and events associated with the pomp and circumstance of graduation. The College of Nursing (CON) had 125 graduates who were awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or Doctor of Philosophy. Faculty, family, and friends gathered in the Bennett Auditorium for the CON Recognition Ceremony to acknowledge the accomplishments of our graduates. It was a gratifying event for all.
The significance of the events this past week extends beyond the personal achievements of our graduates. The number of graduates and the diversity of the degrees emphasize The University of Southern Mississippi College of Nursing’s commitment to meet the health indicators of our population and nursing workforce projections. The Institute of Medicine Report Future of Nursing Leading Change, Advancing Health has issued the challenge to transform nursing and health care. Our faculty and our graduates accept that challenge to become leaders in this change. In the words of Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
I read with interest a recently released document which presented the results of a three year study A Case for Health Care in Mississippi as an Economic Driver. The report identified short and long term strategies to foster successful results for health care economic development which will not only strengthen the health care system but improve the health and wellness of Mississippians.
While the document clearly states that this study concentrates on economic development aspects instead of focusing on health care indicators such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and social/health issues, it is evident that these health indicators will influence the interpretation of the findings of the study and drive the implementation of the strategic initiatives. To leverage healthcare as an economic driver, the delivery network must meet the state’s health care needs.
The eight strategic initiatives and the recommended implementation tactics are designed to guide infrastructure and the path for promoting a statewide health care system and economic development. I noted the mention of several concepts that also will focus on Mississippi’s health care indicators; investment in human and physical infrastructure, collaboration among health care agencies, providers, and stakeholders, and breaking down of silos that could create barriers that challenge the success of this plan.
As stated in the conclusion section of the document, the key to successful implementation will require state leaders, state government, health care professionals, business, community leaders, and the Mississippi educational programs to work collaboratively to champion the growth of health care in Mississippi that will promote access to quality health and health equity through an adequate supply of healthcare providers that support the healthcare needs of this state.
The University Of Southern Mississippi College Of Nursing and the health care industry in the Gulf South are poised to collaborate in the implementation of this endeavor.