Belmont University will celebrate the “topping out” of the new Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences Building Monday – and also announce the newest member of the university’s Partners in Nursing Consortium, a long-term partnership between Belmont University, HCA’s TriStar Health System and other select Tennessee colleges and universities created to address the growing shortage of registered nurses in Tennessee.
The media is invited to the Topping Out Ceremony, one of the construction industry’s oldest customs, which celebrates the highest point of a building’s progress. The ceremony, 11 a.m., Monday, at the under-construction building on the Belmont campus, will recognize those who have made the nursing partnership and the Health Sciences Building possible.
A task force of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) issued a January 2004 report, Securing Tennessee’s Future: Increasing Educational Capacity in Nursing, which projected a shortage of 9,500 nurses in Tennessee by 2020.
The Partners in Nursing Consortium currently includes HCA’s TriStar Health System, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Volunteer State Community College – and a new member school to be announced Monday.
Students from partner schools will take their nursing courses at Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing after the new $22.5 million building opens in the fall of 2006. For their clinical experiences students in this program will have the opportunity to work within the HCA’s TriStar Health System hospitals as well as other local clinical agencies.
“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,” said Dr. Debra Wollaber, dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing.
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. The goal of the consortium is to enroll 600 nursing majors.