By Joseph Pratt
Shawnee State University (SSU) nursing students are starting off the fall semester in a fresh and new, to them, building. The Department of Nursing has moved four offices and all nursing laboratories to Hatcher Hall, located at 1001 Fourth St., just east of the Education Building.
“This building, made possible through the SSU Development Foundation and a generous gift from the Hatcher family, provides much needed classroom and laboratory space to accommodate our recently expanded nursing program,” Elizabeth Blevins, SSU communications director, said.
Dr. Paul Madden, dean of the College of Professional Studies at SSU, has been heavily involved with the campus in many capacities for 22 years. He stepped in as interim dean last September and became official dean in January. He is happy to be just one working part of providing the nursing students the possibility of having their own dedicated work space on campus.
The offices of the department secretary, Debbie Howell; professors Dr. Adair Lattimer and Dr. Leeann Denning; and nursing lab coordinator Loretta Cooper; were also moved to Hatcher Hall last week. Nursing labs formerly located in Health Sciences and the Advanced Technology Center are also now located in Hatcher Hall and were ready for nursing students on the first day of class Monday.
“We have a beautiful facility, with a lobby, student study areas, large and small group areas, two large state of the art lab facilities that replicate a hospital facility, a small meditation room and things like that to support the students who will be spending quite a bit of their days in the facility,” Madden said. “I know it is very exciting for students and it makes a difference for them, when they can walk in a beautiful building and know that the institution has committed to their professional growth and development.”
Kelle Craft, junior at Shawnee State University, is in the nursing program and is glad to see the program reach this point of growth.
“The facility is really nice, and there’s much more equipment open for all of us. Having about 300 total students in the associates and bachelors programs, it isn’t as crowded, there’s our own computer lab and several rooms to practice skills without waiting your turn,” Craft said, in regards to the new facility.
Shawnee’s growth in laboratory needs for nursing students have been exponential over the years and the University decided to expand the program for the betterment of their students and overall workforce of the area.
“We’ve been looking at workforce needs and job growth opportunities and the need for nurses in the southeast and Appalachia regions of Ohio is at 20 percent, which also mirrors a national trend for nurses needed. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, nursing is considered a high growth field,” Madden said.
The nursing program is using around a fourth of the new facility, with the rest being occupied by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Madden says that the University’s neighbors within their walls should only be a temporary thing, with SSU slowly growing into and taking over the premises.
“We are unsure of how long the Bureau will be housed with us, but until then, we will be good neighbors and hope we can all live and work together,” Madden said.
The current role of the program’s advancement is in what the college is considering phase one, with more to come. Madden said there is no defined time frame on when and how each growth will be officially laid out, but they are dedicated to working on it and taking it to its full potential.
“We’ve tagged upcoming projects as phase two renovation. We are unsure of when we will start on it, but we look forward to it being soon,” Madden said. “We are looking forward to having large classroom space where the faculty can lead large portions of the lecture based instruction, before taking students into the labs for hands on approaches.”
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.