LaGrange College Nursing receives federal grant

Published 10:30 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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LaGrange College’s Nursing Department can double its capabilities to put nurses into Georgia communities thanks to $214,000 in federal funding approved by Congress.

The legislature voted on a minibus spending bill in March, which included multiple local appropriations proposed by congressional leaders. The funding request for LaGrange College was sponsored by Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

“We are so grateful to Senators Ossoff and Warnock for taking up this request and getting it approved,” said college President Susanna Baxter. “Their offices were very helpful and supportive throughout the entire appropriations process.”

The funding will be put toward new equipment for the nursing department that includes patient simulator mannequins, smartboards, tablets, vital sign simulators, laptops and movable furniture as well as renovating new classroom space.

“It’s going to have a huge impact,” said Nursing Chair Dr. Sarah Jones. “Updating equipment will give students a bedside experience in a lab like they would have at a hospital.”

She said the new equipment will allow more practical learning experiences in class, better preparing students for the real world.

“There are just more immersive learning experiences available with these tools that can enhance students’ classroom engagement beyond merely displaying static images,” Jones said.

In addition to the enhanced learning provided by new equipment, the goal of the project is to increase the college’s capacity for nursing students and, consequently, the number of new nurses it puts into Georgia communities. The state, like the nation, is facing a shortage of health-care professionals, and projections show more nurses retiring in coming years than new ones entering the field.

To help address this shortage, the college aims to start in January 2025 admitting two cohorts of students into the Nursing program every year. Currently, the program can accept up to 60 juniors per year. The expansion will open the door for up to 120 new students to enter the program annually. Additionally, it will give students who need to retake a class a second chance in the following semester instead of having to wait a full year for it to be offered again.

“I’m thankful,” Jones said. “This is a great opportunity. We want to make sure people who come here get the most for their educational investment.”