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School of Nursing opens Greenville education and research facility

Clemson Nursing building in GreenvilleSouth Carolina is one of seven states projected to have a shortage of registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. South Carolina’s nursing shortage is expected to top 10,000; it’s one of only four states expected to have that significant a shortage.

A collaboration between Clemson and the Greenville Health System is designed to address that shortage. The Clemson University Nursing building, an education and research facility housing an expansion of Clemson’s baccalaureate nursing program at GHS, opened in August.

The new building allowed the School of Nursing to increase first-year enrollment from 64 in fall 2015 to 173 in fall 2018. By fall 2021, total enrollment in the baccalaureate program is anticipated to top 700, an increase from 256 in fall 2015.

“The collaboration will not only expand our enrollment, but will also integrate teaching and clinical practice in innovative ways that will positively impact nursing education and patient outcomes,” said Kathleen Valentine, director of Clemson’s School of Nursing.

Nursing students will take their general education and nursing foundation courses on Clemson’s main campus during their freshman and sophomore years. After that, they are placed into one of two cohorts: One will take nursing courses in Greenville under the guidance of Clemson faculty and complete clinical rotations across multiple GHS campuses; the other will take junior and senior nursing courses on Clemson’s main campus and complete clinical rotations at health systems across the Upstate, including GHS.

Graduate nursing students will have priority clinical rotations within GHS to be prepared to care for rural and vulnerable populations.

“This innovative collaboration will help ensure that GHS and the entire region and beyond have high-quality nurses in spite of a nursing shortage,” said GHS President Spence Taylor.

Hoffmeyer Creates Endowment to Support Nursing Students

Henry Hoffmeyer '56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer ’56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer’s father died when he was 11, leaving his mother to care for five children under age 14 while operating a small dairy in Darlington.

And all of them attended college. “She did a great job raising us,” he said. “I don’t understand how she could afford to send me to Clemson, but she did.” Hoffmeyer and his late wife Polly of Mills River, N.C., wanted to help other single-parent families afford college. They created an endowment for the School of Nursing to support tuition costs for students from Henderson County, N.C., with preference given to students from single-parent families.

“Not many students from Henderson County come to the School of Nursing because of the out-of-state tuition,” Hoffmeyer said. “So I decided I would try to encourage some students to come to Clemson by helping them and giving them scholarships.”

It wasn’t difficult for the Hoffmeyers to choose Clemson as a beneficiary of their generosity. His Clemson roots run deep — even to the University’s first days. Hoffmeyer’s grandfather was a member of Clemson’s first freshman class in 1893, and every subsequent generation has had a member attend Clemson. His father, Henry G.G. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1919; his uncle, Herman F.L. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1921; he graduated in 1956; his daughter, Suzanne Hoffmeyer O’Donnell, graduated in 1985; and his granddaughter, Elizabeth O’Donnell, began studies this year.

The Hoffmeyers’ interest in nursing came through relationships with family members. Hoffmeyer’s sister graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina. His granddaughter is also interested in a nursing career, which brought Clemson’s nursing program to his attention.

“When I look at the need for nurses, there will be a great shortage of nurses in the future,” he said. “I just want to help get more students involved in nursing, because there is a great need for that.”

Hoffmeyer worked in management positions with Southern Bell for almost 40 years, retiring in 1993. The Hoffmeyers have three daughters and seven grandchildren. “I’ve been blessed in my life, and I’d like to give back,” Henry said. “This is a small way I can help nursing students from North Carolina attend Clemson, because I think it is a wonderful institution.”

A shore thing: Sarah Strickland ’12

 

Sarah Strickland8Teamwork and adaptability learned at Clemson served Sarah Strickland well abroad and back home. Critical skills such as communication and resourcefulness have helped Strickland from every job as a nurse in the ICU step-down unit, to working on a ship in Madagascar, to now working in an emergency room.

But it was working abroad that brought all the lessons from Clemson to the forefront. Knowing she was wrapping up the first few years of her career in Clemson, Lexington native Sarah Strickland began looking for adventures in nursing. She found one in Mercy Ships, an international faith-based organization with a mission to increase health care throughout the world. Since 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered services to more than 2.54 million people.

From November 2015 to February 2016, Strickland lived on Africa Mercy which was docked in Madagascar, and worked alongside surgeons in facial tumor removal and cleft lip and palate reconstruction. The ship, which began service in 2007, offers an 82-bed ward.

Strickland learned about the mission opportunity from one of her co-workers who lived in Africa for a while. And after multiple short-term mission trips as a high school student, Strickland wasn’t afraid of tackling a challenge overseas. “I prayed about it for a few weeks and ended up applying at the end of the summer,” she said.

The timing meant she wouldn’t be on an early 2015 trip, but would be considered for an early 2016 team. But life in South Carolina didn’t prep Strickland for everything. “I’d never done much with pediatrics or facial patients,” said Strickland. “And most conditions would have been treated long before they got to the point we were seeing. I worked in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and a step-down unit, but for the most part, working in Madagascar was completely different from anything I had ever done, which was the situation for most of my co-workers, so it was a learning curve for everybody.”

What Clemson and her training had prepped her for was being adaptable. “Clemson definitely teaches you how to think critically. When we were over there we didn’t have access to as many resources as we have over here. … We had to rely on a lot more of our judgment. Clemson just also really encourages a teamwork approach to nursing. Over there I really experienced the need to rely on my co-workers as teammates even more so than working here.”

Clemson tiger paw temporary tattoos, stickers and flags also helped Strickland bring one of her loves to her patients. “There was 14-year-old kid who had a tumor. The day he had it removed was the day of the National Championship game. So I put [tiger paws] on a bunch of the kids, including him. The first time he got to look at the back of his head without the tumor, he had a tiger paw on his cheek.”

“Seeing the look on his face when he got to see that just reminded me [Clemson] is what brought me here, and it just all came together,” she said.”

Nursing program expanding with GHS partnership

July 17, 2013 - Clemson Nursing students with patient at Clemson Free Clinic

Clemson Nursing students with patient at Clemson Free Clinic

When it comes to health care, one thing is clear: We need nurses.

As the population ages and health care needs intensify, the demand for nurses is growing. The registered nurse workforce is expected to increase 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With this growth, the United States will need nearly 440,000 new nurses
by 2024.

Equal to the demand for nurses is the need for nurses with advanced training and education. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020 — a move to help the nursing workforce manage the increasing complexity of patients and the health care system.

Recognizing these needs, Clemson and Greenville Health System (GHS) are entering a unique, collaborative program expansion that will enable Clemson to increase the number of students accepted into its nursing program and expand student clinical placements within GHS.

With this partnership, entering freshmen in 2016 and beyond will have the opportunity to be part of one of two cohorts — the Clemson University School of Nursing or the Clemson University School of Nursing Greenville — beginning in the fall of their junior year.

Students in both cohorts will take general education and nursing foundation courses on Clemson’s main campus their freshman and sophomore years. Students in the Clemson University School of Nursing Greenville will complete clinical rotations during their junior and senior years at one of Greenville Health System’s seven campuses, while students in the Clemson University School of Nursing will complete clinical rotations at other health care systems across the Upstate.

By expanding clinical placements at GHS, the School of Nursing will be able to better meet enrollment demands. Historically, the School of Nursing has been able to enroll only about 8 percent of its applicants, but with the program expansion, Clemson hopes to double the enrollment over the next several years.

“Improving health in South Carolina is an important part of Clemson’s land-grant mission,” said Brett Wright, dean of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, which houses Clemson’s nursing program. “We are excited about this collaboration with Greenville Health System that increases our capacity to prepare nurses, and we are grateful to all of our health system partners that give our students the best in clinical education. These efforts serve the well-being of people in South Carolina and beyond, and we are honored to be a part of the work.”

“Greenville Health System is excited to be a part of this strategic effort with Clemson that will positively affect both workforce needs and patient care,” says Brenda Thames, GHS vice president for academic and faculty affairs. “By working together, we will continue to meet the evolving health care needs of our community, state and nation.”

The nursing expansion is part of a continuing partnership between Clemson and Greenville Health System that is seeking to transform health care. Clemson has worked with GHS on health care research projects since 1990 and, in 2013, GHS and Clemson established a new health care partnership, naming the University the health system’s primary research collaborator.

University/military partnership benefits both

Field Scenario

Field Scenario

Units such as the U.S. Navy Reserve medical team that MaryBeth Hendricks ’95, M ’96 helps lead are the first responders for injured service men and women on the field of battle. When Hendricks’ team began envisioning what kind of training would provide the best preparation, what came to mind was the kind of training she received at Clemson, and her experience in the School of Nursing’s Clinical Lab and Resource Center. The center’s state-of-the-art learning environment closely simulates real-life experiences using technologically advanced mannequins that can be programmed to realistically mimic the symptoms of almost any health problem.

Hendricks, a nurse practitioner who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson, and her team worked with assistant professor Tracy Fasolino to design a five-hour simulation session that, with the assistance of a number of nursing faculty, could be completed during scheduled drill weekends. The training took place in the fall, with scenarios ranging from a traumatic amputation to a cardiac event.

Collaboration with the military is nothing new for Clemson. Faculty from the Eugene T. Moore School of Education have been working with the S.C. Army National Guard in a decade-long partnership that has provided a convenient high-tech facility for weekend Guard training and education. The facility, which includes two-way interactive videoconferencing capabilities, also is used for University programs and classes, as well as for training more than 3,500 teachers in the statewide Reading Recovery Program that improves children’s literacy skills.