A University System of Georgia task force reports that the state will be short 20,000 nurses by 2012 unless steps are taken to increase the number of graduates.
“At Georgia Southern, we are working to reverse the nursing shortage,” said Jean Bartels, chair of the School of Nursing. “At spring commencement two years ago we graduated 40 bachelor’s degree nurses, and last year we graduated 36. This spring, 62 students graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing degree.”
“We continue to admit 50 students each semester from a competitive pool of candidates,” said Bartels. “They graduate and immediately become available to deliver high quality nursing care in the region. Also, we continue to look for ways to increase the number of students we admit to the School of Nursing.”
Among the 62 nursing graduates are twelve students who obtained their nursing education through SCRUBS, a program designed to recruit minority students to a nursing career and increase minority representation in the nursing workforce. To remain in the program, each student must maintain a 3.0 GPA. This year’s class is the first to graduate from the SCRUBS program.
At a reception recognizing the SCRUBS graduates, each student received a peach-colored cord signifying their achievement and spoke about the efforts involved in achieving their degree.
“I am privileged to be here,” said Mariam Sabas, one of SCRUBS graduates. “I’ve been in the military for years, and I never expected to be able to go to school again.” Sabas gave special recognition to her mother-in-law, who attended the reception, for exceptional support in helping her achieve her goal. Sabas will be working at Wynn Army Medical Hospital at Fort Stewart, and expects to be deployed to Iraq soon.
David Bazanu, a SCRUBS graduate from Nigeria, thanked his fellow students for a much more practical reason. They took turns waking him up in time to get to his clinicals —something all the students were warned never to miss. Bazanu will continue his graduate education at Georgia Southern’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health.
Another student, Cherelle Johnson, entered the Scrubs program as a step toward becoming a physician. “The longer I was in the nursing program, the less I wanted to be a doctor,” said Johnson. “I’m convinced nursing is where I am supposed to be.”
Christine Romasanta, a native of the Phillipines who now calls California home, transferred to Georgia Southern’s nursing program. She plans to work in critical care nursing.
SCRUBS graduate Amanda Mincey, a single mother from Metter, will be working at University Hospital in Augusta in the area of telemetry.
Another SCRUBS military recruit, Leslie Turner, recognized the faculty members who helped her, including Mariam Tabi, director of the SCRUBS program who, Turner noted, “opened my eyes to research.” Turner said she applied to other schools, but Georgia Southern was the most welcoming, working with the Army requirements to get her admitted to the SCRUBS program.
SCRUBS is funded by an $880,000 grant from the Health Resource and Service Administration. This summer the program will fund a nursing recruitment camp for rising sophomore thru senior year high school students.
For more information about SCRUBS or the School of Nursing at Georgia Southern, go to http://chhs.georgiasouthern.edu/nursing/