The start of a new year also brings a return of the College of Nursing to the Long Beach campus. Since 2004 the Nursing faculty and staff have been housed in the renovated former Garden Park Hospital in Gulfport. The new facility provides adequate faculty offices, conferences rooms, and lounge. The facility also houses the Clinical simulation lab which is a critical component of the nursing curriculum. In the simulation lab students have an opportunity to provide care for simulated patients with selected diagnoses, to develop clinical decision- making skills, and a place to debrief, evaluate, and reflect on the provided nursing care.
This wonderful building on the main campus increases the visibility of nursing and its role in providing quality education to future students of The University of Southern Mississippi.
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.”