nursing class

Wellstar Grant Expands Nursing Program Offerings at GHC

Wellstar’s continued support of Northwest Georgia Nursing programs tackles training, treatment simulation, and nursing shortages.

For almost two decades, Georgia Highlands College (GHC) has had a mutually beneficial partnership with Wellstar Health System. This successful joint venture has allowed GHC to impact the nursing healthcare shortages of northwest Georgia.

The multiple grants from Wellstar provided GHC the ability for growth in the nursing program by providing faculty positions, expanding on-site course offerings to multiple counties, provided clinical training as well as improve the student experience through scholarships.

Assistant Director of Nursing Shea Walker said the most recent grant has provided the nursing program with the opportunity to enhance educational opportunities for our students.

“In the ever-changing healthcare environment, a high-quality education that can adapt to innovative technology is critical and this grant has assisted in this ongoing adaptation,” Walker said.

In the classroom, GHC’s nursing program utilizes several different methods of treatment for simulation. Simulation is considered a high-impact practice and closes the gap between classroom and clinical instruction.

Funded by the Wellstar Grant, the program incorporates a High-Fidelity Simulation using computer-aided mannequins to mimic a variety of real-life patient scenarios. The mannequins have pulses, lung sounds and voice responses and can be adjusted to react to the different responses the students make based on the clinical scenario.

“In a simulation, instructors can reinforce classroom content and provide feedback on clinical performance,” Walker said. “With the addition of the new mannequins, the lab can provide more training with enhanced clinical skills features. This mannequin has facial movements, facial expressions and a pediatric voice. All of these features will assist our students in adapting their care to a pediatric client.”

Walker said, for example, pediatric clinical rotations are always challenging rotations to obtain. With the purchase of the new pediatric mannequin, the program will increase the realism of caring for a pediatric patient in the simulation lab.

Liz Jones, Director of the GHC Foundation, said the college is grateful for its partnership with Wellstar Health System. Since 2006, GHC has been a good steward of Wellstar’s investment, with thousands graduating from the nursing program including its 50th graduating class in May 2022.

“Not only does the support of Wellstar help boost GHC’s nursing program to educate and serve more students, but these students are also being quickly employed across northwest Georgia with excellent nursing skills and the ability to make a positive impact right away,” Jones said. “GHC is committed to helping fill labor shortages for nursing healthcare professionals in our service areas.”