School of Nursing celebrates 50th anniversary, increase in enrollment

At center right, Melissa Ellis, senior nursing student, works through a simulation Sept. 6 with classmates Katie Bird, Joseph Achaleke and Rich Burroughs in the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice in Providence Hall.
Melissa Ellis, center, senior nursing student, checks medical equipment during a simulation lab session Sept. 6 with senior nursing students Katie Bird, left, Joseph Achaleke and Rich Burroughs, in the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice in Providence Hall. Photo by Jacob Moore

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.

Renee Anderson, at front, assistant professor of nursing, voices the patient simulator while leading a lab session Sept. 6 in Providence Hall with Jessica Suiter, assistant professor of nursing. | Photo by Jacob Moore
A patient simulator lies on a hospital bed in the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice. Students worked to treat the simulator’s ‘gunshot wound.’ | Photo by Jacob Moore
Katie Bird, senior nursing student, monitors the patient simulator. | Photo by Jacob Moore
Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Jacob Moore 11 Articles
Jacob Moore served for two years as photo editor for the Cardinal & Cream. Beginning in his sophomore year, he worked as a photographer for the Office of University Communications at Union. He also worked as a barista at Barefoots Joe during his senior year. While in college, he interned and worked with The Jackson Sun, mentored in the after-school program at Skyline Church of Christ and served on the leadership team for the 2013 Southeastern Journalism Conference. He was recognized with an Academic Excellence Medal for a major in advertising.