Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Graduates, faculty, city council member speak up for Midway College nursing program to accreditors

By Bridget Slone
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

More than 20 people gathered in Midway College’s Duthie Auditorium for the accreditation review of the college’s nursing program last Tuesday evening. The meeting was a forum for comment on the program to include in the accreditors’ report.

Attendees included Midway citizens, graduates of Midway College, and faculty and staff members. Eleven people shared comments. Some were graduates of the program and shared testimonies of their experiences as students. Others were citizens of Midway who spoke of important roles the program and the college play in the community.

Marshell Danielson, a graduate of the nursing program and a registered nurse, spoke to the accredtors and the Midway Messenger. She discussed the supportiveness of faculty members, expectations and the foundation the program provides for students.

“What it did was provide the foundation for us to continue with the expectation,” Danielson said in the interview. “We were going to continue on for further education.”

Danielson, who is working on a master’s degree, explained the importance of future nurses furthering their education and obtaining such degrees in nursing in order to help expand the profession: “What Midway does is [provide] a very good foundation so that you can go from one program to the next 
program with the writings, the research and the professional conduct.”

Danielson said she has worked with nurses and undergraduates from other programs and those from the Midway program are far more prepared: “They are more assured in what they’re doing.”

Danielson also agreed with other comments provided during the meeting, saying “I don’t think there’s enough good things that we could say about Midway College. I think it’s a phenomenal program.”

Midway City Council Member Grayson Vandegrift told the accreditors about Midway College’s importance to the community, saying the presence of an institution of higher learning in a town the size of Midway is “incredibly important.”

Vandegrift explained that Midway College is the city’s largest provider of jobs and how the nursing program plays a big part in that, with the addition of the nursing home. Christian Care Communities plans to open a senior living residence, The Homeplace at Midway, across Stephens Street from the college, late this year.

Faculty members of the nursing program also attended. Nancy Barnum, associate professor of nursing, said that what sets Midway’s nursing program apart from others are the relationships established between the faculty and students, advising and high expectations. Barnum explained in an interview that being a smaller school allows faculty and advisers to “build really strong relationships with students.

She said faculty have “high expectations that our students can achieve and they usually do.”
Barnum said afterward that she was “very pleased” with the comments during the meeting. “They’re things that we hear a lot from the community, so it was nice that they were here to say it to the accreditors.”

The accreditors' report will go to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, whose board of commissioners would meet in July. The school will receive their reports six weeks later, toward the end of August, the accreditors said.

Midway College began a two-year nursing program in 1965, when it was still Midway Junior College. The registered nurse - bachelor of science degree in nursing began in 1989. Since 1991, the program has had 1,991 graduates. Of those, 1,486 obtained an associate degree and 179 received a bachelor's degree, according to Ellen Gregory, the college's vice president for marketing and communications. Over the past three years, the program has an average of 100 graduates a year, Gregory said.

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