Funds will provide state-of-the-art equipment and open the door to a new “distance learning” option for nursing students in Middle Tennessee.
The Memorial Foundation has approved a grant of $500,000 to Belmont University for capital support for technology in the new Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing building, currently under construction. The Memorial Foundation’s grant will be used to help equip the new facility with the best in health sciences training technology, including simulators, task trainers, computer software and other equipment, video conferencing and satellite communications web-casting capabilities. The technology will make it possible for faculty to teach remote students who are entering Belmont’s health sciences programs.
All of Belmont’s health sciences programs in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work will eventually be housed together in the new two-building education complex on Wedgewood Avenue. Construction is under way on the first of the two buildings, which is scheduled for completion by August 2006. The new facility is funded in part by a $10.5 million contribution from Franklin, Tenn., entrepreneur and banker Gordon Inman, and a $7.5 million investment from HCA and TriStar Health System.
The distance learning technologies will be essential as the college is the hub of a new consortium of Tennessee colleges and universities working together to address the growing nursing shortage. Belmont is currently working through the logistics to establish partnerships with Columbia State Community College, Martin Methodist University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Volunteer State Community College to participate in the nursing education consortium. Nursing students from consortium member schools will take nursing courses at Belmont via both distance education and on site at the Inman Center. These relationships will also be strengthened by Belmont’s existing partnership with HCA and TriStar Health System.
Belmont University President Dr. Robert C. Fisher welcomed news of The Memorial Foundation grant.
“Belmont recognizes the education of health care providers of the future will require constant investment in health care technology for our classrooms and laboratories,” Fisher said. “We are working to create partnerships with four Middle Tennessee institutions of higher education to reach larger populations of men and women embarking on health care careers. At the same time we are forging partnerships with hospitals and critical care facilities to ensure our understanding of their expectations for specific skills and knowledge in our graduates. At the heart of what we must teach is the technology that is in use in the health care community today.”
Noting that the new building will accommodate “significantly more students in health sciences and create an environment for interactive learning,” Fisher added that the new facility also “will help Belmont address the need for dynamic and innovative community-wide health care partnerships between educational institutions and hospitals.”
As Belmont prepares to bring together nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work into one interactive and interdisciplinary setting, technology is a critical element. With a fully equipped facility, capable of web-casting, video conferencing and satellite uplinks and downlinks, the Inman Center will be completely accessible to its partner institutions and the Middle Tennessee health care community, including Belmont’s partner HCA and TriStar Health System.
The Memorial Foundation
The Memorial Foundation was established in 1994 and is located in Hendersonville, Tenn. Its mission is to “improve the quality of life for people living in the geographic area served by Nashville Memorial Hospital.” The Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to non-profit organizations in Middle Tennessee.
Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing
Belmont University’s Gordon E. Inman College Health Sciences and Nursing offers a comprehensive education to students in a Christian environment, preparing them to become practitioners in health and social welfare fields. Departments include nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work. The Department of Social Work offers baccalaureate preparation as a social worker and is one of the few educational institutions in Tennessee offering preparation for licensure as a School Social Worker. 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 as well as preparation as nursing educators and administrators. The School of Occupational therapy offers a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and the School of Physical Therapy offers a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. The America’s Best Graduate Schools 2005 guide lists Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy as the top school of physical therapy in Tennessee and one of the top 40 nationally.
UPDATE July 29: Coverage in The Tennessean.