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Official News From the Office of Communications

HCA’S MidAmerica Division, Belmont UniversityForm Nursing Consortium Partnership

Rendering033.jpgHCA’s MidAmerica Division has joined with Belmont University in announcing a groundbreaking new educational partnership to address the growing shortage of nurses in Tennessee. HCA’s MidAmerica Division has committed $7.5 million toward the construction of a College of Health Sciences building along Wedgewood Avenue on the eastern edge of the Belmont campus. Architectural and design work is in process and construction is expected to begin immediately. The Health Sciences building will include Belmont’s Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Social Work programs. The facility is phase one of a two-part project, and fundraising is under way now for a second building for Belmont’s Physical Therapy Program, expansion space for nursing and other potential health sciences programs. When completed, the entire health care educational complex will be nearly 100,000 square feet including an underground multi-level parking garage, and will be constructed at a total cost of approximately $34 million. Phase one is a $22.5 million project.
Click to see images and video from the press conferences.


This unique partnership will create a new nursing consortium intended to help meet the needs of Middle Tennessee for quality educated health care professionals, especially those in the field of nursing. Other area colleges and universities invited to join the consortium include: Trevecca Nazarene University, Martin Methodist College and Columbia State Community College, which is intended to attract and educate a large number of new nurses to alleviate the growing shortage and to lay the foundation of a new synergistic approach to educating nurses and other health care professionals.
HCA’s MidAmerica Division and Belmont University’s College of Health Sciences will share resources in this collaborative effort to capitalize on the strengths of each partner in order to meet the health care needs of the region each serves.
“The need for quality healthcare professionals is a community-wide issue,” Paul Rutledge, president of HCA’s MidAmerica Division, which includes the 17 hospitals of TriStar Health System, said. “When the provider community can join forces with the educational community, it’s a winning combination. The real winners are the patients that will be cared for by the highly trained professionals coming out of this educational experience.”
Belmont University President Dr. Robert Fisher said, “Today, we launch the most ambitious effort yet taken by any Tennessee university to address the state’s growing shortage of nurses – a shortage that is growing toward crisis proportions. By partnering with HCA’s MidAmerica Division, we will address the nursing shortage head-on.”
Belmont launched an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the fall of 2003, and has increased enrollment in its nursing program from 131 students in 2002 to 256 this year. Belmont’s nursing program boasts a 96 percent pass rate on the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) over the last three years. The goal of this consortium is to enroll 600 nursing majors.
“With this new partnership and health sciences building, we’ll have the opportunity to impact nursing education in this region for the next 50 years and beyond,” Dr. Debra Wollaber, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Belmont, said.
Wollaber worked on a Tennessee Independent Colleges & University Association task force which issued a report in January 2004, Securing Tennessee’s Future: Increasing Educational Capacity In Nursing. The report projects that Tennessee will face a shortage of almost 9,500 registered nurses by the year 2020 unless bold action is taken to increase the number of nursing students and nursing faculty statewide.
The growing crisis flows from a declining number of nursing school graduates, limited nursing program capacity, the aging of the current registered nurse workforce, declining relative earnings for nurses and increased demand for nursing services, according to TICUA.
The nursing consortium is a long-term partnership to address that shortage and meet the needs of Middle Tennessee for quality health care professionals in nursing and other health sciences occupations through a dynamic, innovative and collaborative relationship between Belmont University and one of Nashville’s leading healthcare organizations.
HCA’s MidAmerica Division
HCA’s MidAmerica Division operates 17 hospitals in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana under the market name of TriStar Health System. Hospitals in the division have been nationally recognized in the areas of cardiology, orthopaedics, oncology, neurology and women’s health. Division-wide in 2003, there were over 11,400 births, 1,000 cardiac surgeries, 8,000 cardiac catheterization procedures, 1,200 cancer research protocol patients, over 92,000 admissions and 344,000 emergency room visits. With over 3,000 licensed beds and a network of over 3,500 physicians in 50 specialties, the TriStar Health System provides care for patients in both metropolitan and rural areas. These facilities employ more than 14,000 individuals, provide salaries exceeding $445 million, and invest over $3.4 billion within Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana.
Belmont University
Belmont University’s community of nearly 4,000 students comes 43 states and 28 countries. Belmont is committed to premier teaching with a focus on success in the real world. Our purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs. Belmont offers more than 50 areas of study, eight master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees.
College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing
Belmont University’s College of Health Sciences offers a comprehensive education to students in a Christian environment, preparing them to become practitioners in health and social welfare fields. Departments include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and social work. The School of Nursing offers the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing degrees, with the MSN including advanced practice clinical specialization as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Press coverage:
Belmont, HCA unite to produce more nursesThe Tennessean, Oct. 22, 2004