Thursday, May 19, 2011
Moving to address a critical need in the state’s health care industry, Georgia lawmakers and Gov. Nathan Deal have approved a $16.5 million bond offering that will fund a new building for the School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia.
The measure was part of the $18.3 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year. In crafting the state’s budget, lawmakers faced exceptionally difficult decisions on funding priorities. But they ultimately agreed that the long-term ability of the state to meet its health care needs would hinge in part on its ability to address its worsening shortage of nurses.
“We are grateful to Gov. Deal, to our entire legislative delegation, to other influential people who helped us get to this stage, and to our School of Nursing colleagues and Dean Kathryn Grams, who developed a strong proposal supported with a first-class program,” said Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, UWG president.
The School of Nursing at UWG has had tremendous success in producing highly trained nurses, but has been unable to admit larger numbers of students to meet demand because of its restricted space.
For instance, in 2010, there were seats available for only 34 percent of bachelors of science in nursing applicants.
A recent estimate found that Georgia is projected to have a shortage of more than 37,000 nurses by 2020.
The new building will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will incorporate training labs with cutting edge technology and space for additional students and faculty.
In addition to its impact on the health care industry, the growth of the School of Nursing will have broader economic benefits. The building project will be a boon to construction and support industries in the region. And by producing more nurses, UWG will contribute to an industry in which the average annual salary is more than $65,000.