School of Nursing in Oxford celebrates new home, expanded class size
Published on Thursday, October 10, 2019
By: Kate Royals
The 2019-2020 class at the University of Mississippi School of Nursing’s accelerated program in Oxford are a lucky crew.
They are the first group of future nurses to train in the school’s new, 17,000-square-foot space at the South Oxford Center.
Students, faculty and staff from Jackson and Oxford celebrated the school’s new home with an open house Wednesday afternoon. Attendees toured the state-of-the-art skills labs and simulation area, a classroom that seats up to 70 students, and a community room that simulates a home-based setting where students can train.
Dr. Eva Tatum, director of the School of Nursing in Oxford, said the school’s growth from one wing in Kinard Hall on the Ole Miss campus in 2006 to the new building, a former hospital that was bought by the university in 2017, is evidence of the growing demand for nurses and of the university’s commitment to meeting that demand. She gave the history of the limited opportunities that came with limited space – and her hope for the school’s continued growth.
This year, 49 students are pursuing the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in Oxford, up from 30 students in previous years. The goal is to admit up to 60 students next year. The program is more intense because it spans just 12 months.
The Accelerated BSN program is designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree in another field and wish to change career paths quickly. It contains a continuous three-semester curriculum in which students take part in clinical training and classroom instruction.
The former 12-bed intensive care unit of the hospital is now the space for the skills labs and simulation area. The classroom is designed to be flexible for team-based learning and interprofessional education opportunities, and a roomy student lounge provides a place to study or work in groups.
Dr. Julie Sanford, dean of the School of Nursing, said at the end of the day, it all goes back to the most important thing: the patient.
“Developing space that supports expanding programs here at Oxford will help us meet the demand for high-quality care that our patients all deserve. Our vision is to meet the demands for Mississippi to have access to high-quality care in all settings,” she said. “Evidence shows that care provided by BSN, MSN and doctorally prepared nurses results in quality outcomes. The School of Nursing is all about preparing nurses to make that difference.”
Cody Pol of Summit is 10 weeks into the accelerated program. A graduate of Ole Miss, he is familiar with the school’s previous space and is glad to be training in the new facility.
“It is definitely expanded, and really well suited to our needs,” he said.
The School of Nursing in Jackson began offering the accelerated nursing program in 2006, and UMMC is the only institution in the state to offer an accelerated nursing degree for students who already have one degree. The program has been offered in Oxford since 2014.
Larry Sparks, interim chancellor of the University of Mississippi, told the group to keep looking toward growth.
“My hope as we move forward is that this facility and this nursing facility continues to grow and expand,” he said. “I would challenge that we’re just opening the doors today.
“Continue to dream, continue to be creative, and let’s make this even more than it is today.”