Lonesome Pine Hospital Community Fund Donates $35,000 To UVa-Wise For Student Training, Test Preparation

Nursing students who are participating in essential training to prepare for cases they might encounter in their careers are receiving valuable support from the Lonesome Pine Hospital Community Fund.

The fund is also providing beneficial financial assistance to students who are seeking to advance their education in medical fields but might not have the monetary resources to pay for various application exams.

Representatives of the fund recently presented a $35,000 check to University of Virginia-Wise leaders during a ceremony in Bowers-Sturgill Hall. The donation will provide $20,000 to upgrade patient simulators on campus and $15,000 to help students prepare for the Medical College Admission Test, Graduate Record Examinations and other graduate school admissions tests.

Ed Roop, the fund's chairman, said it was established to promote health and wellness in the community. He said this contribution the fund has made to the college aligns perfectly with the fund's goal.

"This is an excellent opportunity to assist students in Southwest Virginia who will be saving the lives of our families, friends and neighbors," Roop said. "We are focused on having well-trained medical professionals delivering high-quality care to our patients, and this donation we have been privileged to make will go a long way in continuing that tradition."

Donna Henry, UVa-Wise's chancellor, said she appreciates the fund's leadership for investing in future caregivers. She said the choice was appropriate considering the quality of the students, as evidenced by all graduates of the college's nursing program having passed the National Council Licensure Examination. This test is administered by each state board of nursing to determine whether candidates are competent for entry-level nursing practice.

"Many of our nursing students have provided care at Wellmont Health System's hospitals in Southwest Virginia during their careers," Henry said. "We expect that to continue and appreciate our partnership with the community fund and Wellmont to ensure our students receive the best training possible on our campus.

"UVa-Wise is also grateful these community stewards recognize the financial limitations some of our students face in taking the next step toward a medical career. By lending a hand, they are helping the community long term when these students establish their careers and begin making a difference in people's quality of life."

Cathie Collins, the nursing department's chairwoman, said the $20,000 will help update the college's state-of-the-art simulation program. Specifically, the money will enable UVa-Wise to upgrade one of the mannequins students use to learn how to handle different medical cases.

Students perform care on the mannequins as their teachers create different afflictions in the fake body and observe how these young caregivers respond, Collins said. She said the mannequins help these nursing students increase their skills in a controlled environment before they participate in these activities on human bodies.

The $15,000 for testing preparation assistance will make a huge difference in some students' ability to pay, said Sanders Huguenin, UVa-Wise's provost. These classes can cost $700-$1,500, but the money from the fund will reduce the amount eligible students are required to pay to a maximum of $200.

Huguenin said the college has also negotiated discounts with the company that provides the preparation materials. UVa-Wise pays for 80 percent of the remaining cost for students who receive financial assistance. Students have to contribute the other 20 percent as an incentive to participate in the preparation class.

"As we concentrate on delivering the best health care anywhere, we are committed to having superior co-workers treating our patients," Roop said. "Helping nurses and other students during their education is a worthwhile endeavor that will create a sustainable model of care and improve the health status of our region."