Phoebe, Southern Regional Tech sign nursing education agreement

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Mar. 28—ALBANY — Phoebe Putney Health System and Southern Regional Technical College have formalized a partnership aimed at addressing the region's critical nursing shortage by boosting the number of nursing students at the college and opening new training opportunities for those students at Phoebe.

"Georgia is well below the national average of nurses per capita, and we need bold action to solve that problem," Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO Scott Steiner said. "I was proud to serve on the Governor's Healthcare Workforce Development Commission, and I appreciate how vigorously Gov. Kemp and leaders throughout the state are working to address the issue.

"Meaningful action happens through strong partnerships, and we are pleased to add Southern Regional Technical College to the growing list of nursing programs with which we have formal working relationships, and we look forward to the positive results our affiliation will have."

Under the agreement, Phoebe will fund two new part-time clinical instructor positions at SRTC, provide hospital clinical rotations for SRTC students, provide access to the Phoebe Simulation & Innovation Center for SRTC students and instructors, and pay for the college to utilize an online clinical placement tool for students rotating at Phoebe. In return, SRTC will work to increase its number of graduates.

"We are proud to be one of the largest nursing programs in the state, but we know there is room to grow," SRTC President Jim Glass said. "There continues to be a high demand for nurses, and we believe more qualified students from Georgia would pursue nursing careers if they're presented that opportunity. We are excited that this partnership with Phoebe will help us expand our nursing program to recruit and graduate more students."

From 2019-2022, 375 nurses earned their associate of science in nursing (ASN) degrees from SRTC. That's the highest number in the Technical College System of Georgia and the fourth-highest among all colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC offers an ASN program at its campuses in Thomasville and Tifton. It also provides a program in Moultrie and Thomasville to help licensed practical nurses transition to registered nurses.

"SRTC has excellent facilities and instructors," Phoebe Vice President of Education Tracy Suber said. "They do an outstanding job training nurses and preparing them for successful careers, and we are pleased to be able to collaborate with them. This partnership will benefit Phoebe and the college, but more importantly, it will benefit all of southwest Georgia by providing well-paying health care careers for people from this area and by helping to ensure we all have access to the health care we need."

Steiner and Glass officially signed the new partnership agreement between their two organizations at a ceremony Monday at the Phoebe Simulation & Innovation Center on Phoebe's main campus in Albany.