Celebrating its 50th year, the School of Nursing continues to break its own records, from size of enrollment to square footage.
A record 727 students are participating in the school’s bachelor, masters and doctorate programs across three campuses this fall.
In providing room for the increasing number of nursing students, the space dedicated for the programs has grown to be more than 10 times larger than it was 10 years ago, said Tim Smith, dean of the School of Nursing.
The school now operates in 42,000 square feet, which includes parts of White Hall, Providence Hall, the Germantown campus and the Hendersonville campus, the latter of which was completed last fall.
Smith said the most recent addition in facilities has allowed for advantageous partnerships with health care organizations in the Nashville area.
More than 900 employees of TriStar Health System use the Hendersonville campus to participate in programs such as nurse residency orientation and workshops on leadership in the nursing field.
While a new campus and added graduate programs have contributed to the school’s almost double increase in enrollment throughout the last decade, Smith said the traditional undergraduate nursing program has consistently grown throughout the school’s history.
He attributes its success to strong leadership and the faculty’s everyday dedication to not only teach students how to provide quality patient care but to also focus on personal heart transformation.
“These students come to understand what it means to be that servant of Christ,” Smith said. “It’s not just how to manage a patient or how to provide for a patient – it truly is the servanthood of Christ that allows these students to serve in a different way.”
The faculty also has grown in number; as a discipline, nursing has 59 faculty and staff, a number higher than any other field of study at Union.
The large number of professors allows for more personalized interaction in nursing clinicals and simulation labs, Smith said.
Most undergraduate nursing classes do not hold the same teacher-student ratio as liberal arts classes at Union.
After remodeling last year, the largest classrooms in White Hall are now able to seat up to 72 students.
Smith said an “enrollment explosion” led to the original classrooms in White Hall being outgrown before they were completed in 2007.
The 2010 construction of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice (inside Providence Hall) also provided more space for students to use the simulation equipment previously kept in White Hall.