Scottsdale Healthcare and GCU Partnership Boasts Devoted Nurses

March 11, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

By Zane Ewton

Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing collaborated with Scottsdale Healthcare to offer a pre-licensure nursing program at the SHC University campus. The program launched in January with 24 students – all women.  GCU also offers RN-BSN and MSN cohorts at their campus.

Amy Baird RN, MSN is the director of the program that meets at the Scottsdale Healthcare campus near Shea and the 101. She is proud of how quickly her students came together, as well as the commitment to success they share.

Brittany Ficara, Breanna Koenes, Jenna Steimer, Teaunee Duran and Alisa Helton.

“You worry about the dynamics of 24 women coming together,” she says. “But our students have banded together and made the decision that no student would be left behind.”

And no student has been left behind. In fact, they are thriving. This is remarkable considering the demands placed on them.

This fast track program allows students to meet pre-licensure requirements in 20 months by meeting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings for class as well as fulfilling an eight-hour clinical rotation on Saturdays.

“Most of these women have families at home, jobs and responsibilities,” says Baird. “Having a small group like this means we get to know each other well, not just academically but personally as well.”

Jina Williams enrolled in the program following a lengthy bout of Guillain-Barre – a disorder in which the body’s immune system begins to attack the nervous system.

She appreciated her nurses and doctors so much she knew she must finally pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. She quit her job as a manager at In-N-Out Burger and enrolled in this program.

Several students are continuing their studies in healthcare to stay current with hospital demands. Holly Rader works for Scottsdale Healthcare and is taking the opportunity to further her education.

Dr. Vernon Thacker leads the nursing class at the SHC University Campus.

“We are becoming better, more well-rounded nurses,” she says. “We are learning things that will help our practice and influence how we care for patients.”

The program provides a healthy dose of theory and application. The campus’ lab includes six SimMan patient simulators and two simulation babies. Additional facilities are Ridgecrest Healthcare in Phoenix, and Scottsdale Healthcare facilities which lead the Saturday clinical rotations at the Shea and Osborn campuses.

As a group, the women decided to begin every class session with a devotion, scripture or short motivational message. Assistant professor, Dr. Vernon Thacker believes this ritual gives perspective to the work they put into class.

With more than 25 years nursing experience, including time as a trauma nurse in the Army during Desert Storm, and about 16 years of teach experience, Thacker is impressed with the students’ unique team spirit and commitment to each other and the program.

Another group of 25 students will begin in August. They will have a tough act to follow.

Contact Zane Ewton at zane.ewton@gcu.edu.


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