An educational relationship developing between Baker University in Baldwin and Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center in Topeka would provide the state with needed nurses, a Baker official said today.
The college and hospital are in the process of forging a relationship that would create a nursing education program administered by Baker at its Baldwin campus and at the Topeka hospital. Stormont-Vail currently operates its own nurses training school, but plans to turn it over to Baker when the relationship is better defined.
Instructors at the Stormont-Vail program will become Baker faculty members under the proposal.
J. Keith Keeling, provost and academic dean at Baker, said today that Stormont-Vail approached the college about two years ago, asking if it would be interested in creating a joint nursing program. The discussions remained casual for about a year, but have become serious in the past year, Keeling said.
UNDER THE proposed program, Baker will add a bachelor's degree in nursing. Students would spend the first two years on the Baldwin campus and the final two years at the Topeka hospital.
The Baker portion of the program would offer more classroom work, while the Topeka school would offer intense clinical work, Keeling said.
Keeling said the relationship forming between the school and the hospital is a response to a state and national nursing shortage. Both institutions hope the availability of the new program will encourage students to enter the nursing field.
"We are very pleased with the arrangement and we feel it will provide good, able nurses for the state," he said. "We think it is consistent with the college's mission."
ALSO, KEELING there seems to be a nationwide trend that is giving more recognition to the four-year, bachelor's degree approach to nursing education. In the past, registered nurses have received training through two-year, associate degree programs, and through training programs offered by hospitals.
Under the program, students would be able to transfer from other schools, and nurses already registered and licensed by the state could return to school and receive their bachelor's degree, Keeling said. Current nurses could apply their past training and experience to the course, he said.
A contract between the school and the hospital is being created, and the alliance will not officially exist until it has been drawn up and signed by both parties, Keeling said. He did not know when the contract would be signed. The program's curriculum also has not yet been devised, he said.
KEELING SAID the program also needed the approval of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Baker's accrediting agency, before it can be established or advertised.
Keeling added that the school hoped to have the program in operation by fall 1991.
Mistee Leighty, Stormont-Vail's media coordinator, said the hospital's board of directors voted about a week ago to affiliate its nursing education program with Baker.
In choosing to link up with Baker, the hospital rejected an offer to affiliate with Washburn University, which also was in the running for the program.