Saint Martin’s nursing department creates new learning opportunities for students

Taryn Zard, Staff Writer

May 7th, 2020 was originally going to mark the launch of Saint Martin’s University’s very own nursing floor. While the university planned for a big, fancy grand opening with donors and even some local members of government, the grand-opening of the nursing department was postponed due to COVID-19. Instead, on June 25th, there was an online, virtual tour recorded with Teri Woo, Ph. D. 

The nursing department is located on the first floor of Old Main behind the cafeteria. The floor is complete with an eight-bed nursing simulation lab, various manikins, a two-bed simulation suite, classrooms, faculty offices, rooms to store the equipment, student lounge and study areas, and lockers for the students’ nursing equipment.

When renovations were happening, the Bruno and Evelynne Betti foundation contributed $2.8 million to the Saint Martin’s Nursing program. $300,000 of that donation went to the support of nursing scholarships, while the rest was a huge contribution for the renovations. Saint Martin’s Abbey also gifted $750,000 towards the nursing project.

When asked about the donation, Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B stated that, “Saint Martin’s University is the principal mission of Saint Martin’s Abbey, and we will always do what we can to support it. Supporting the nursing program means that future nurses will be serving thousands upon thousands of people during their lifetimes of service, which certainly reflects our Benedictine values.” 

The nursing floor will house two cohorts each year, with one in the fall and one in the spring. Each cohort has 24 students for a total of 48 students graduating annually, beginning in the Spring of 2022 with the first 24, and the rest in the Fall of 2022.

The nursing uniforms consist of a red scrub top with the school’s logo and nursing embroidered on the top left breast side, black scrub pants, and either white or black shoes. For clinicals, all the students have a white coat to wear when caring for patients.

The Student Nursing Association (SNA), was founded by nursing students this last year. Sanyt Shores was last years’ president and has been re-elected for the 2020-21 academic year. When asked what the SNA aims to do, Shores responded: “The Student Nursing Association is a group of students either pursuing or interested in the healthcare field. We aim to build community among future nursing and healthcare students while providing both academic and emotional support to assure the success of all. We also intend to improve the wellbeing of our campus and local community through involvement at various hospitals, shelters, and schools.”

Shores adds that anyone is welcome to join, as “some people may just want to volunteer, learn about healthcare, or simply need a support system, and we offer it all.”

Shores has advanced into her Junior I semester. With all her prerequisites completed, Shores is that much closer to graduating. “After I graduate my goal is to obtain a job as a RN [registered nurse] in a hospital either working in a pediatric [kids] department or an emergency department. Once I have built a strong foundation in healthcare, I plan on applying for graduate school and pursuing my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) specializing in pediatrics,” Shores said.

Students do not have to be declared nursing majors to join the association. The SNA is currently meeting in Old Main 120, but depending on the number of students in attendance, can change to Zoom. Doodle polls are sent out to all members to check for availability for when the majority of students could meet. 

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