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New School of Nursing Opens in Salem

Sen. Ralph Smith, Del. Greg Habeeb, Pam Lindsey, Ken Cuccinelli and Ron Charpia cut the ribbon.

by Valerie Garner

After delivering the keynote address to the Roanoke Bar Association for Law Day last week, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli participated in a ribbon cutting at ITT Technical Institute’s Breckinridge School of Nursing in Salem.

After the ceremony, staff took Cuccinelli and attendees on a tour of the facilities and met with students. The simulated hospital room included patient mannequins in hospital beds hooked to monitoring equipment. Standing beside one of the hospital beds, the life-like demonstration led Cuccinelli to take the patient’s hand, check for a pulse and ask him for his vote. Cuccinelli has announced his plan to run for governor in 2013.

Other participants in the celebration included Delegate Greg Habeeb, Senator Ralph Smith, Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson and Salem Sheriff Eric Atkins along with representatives for Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, area Chamber of Commerce representatives and school administrators.

During the celebration Salem ITT Director Ron Charpia said, “We take great pride in our students and our staff” since ITT opened its doors in 2009. He said the school brings students with a diversity of backgrounds “who have committed to lifelong learning and community service.”

The program has provisional approval for its two-year nursing associate degree. The degree comes at a cost of over $50,000 – at a per credit hour price of $493 with 109 credits required to graduate, according to their website. Class size ranges from 15 to 20 students and the first class will start in June.

Cuccinelli addressed staff and attendees saying how acutely aware he was of the growing need for nurses. He explained how his responsibility as Attorney General places a high priority on investigating and prosecuting Medicaid fraud and elder abuse. “I can tell you first hand what you probably already know, that our aging population is growing significantly … the demand for more skilled nurses and caregivers is only going to rise.” His office hires nurses that do medical analysis in healthcare cases.

He told the attendees that he thought that ITT’s nursing curriculum would address nursing values and not just from a book – It teaches communication skills and competent care learning.  “There is a need for not only competent technical care but also for the compassion and nurturing that caregivers and nurses can give … they not only have an awesome responsibility to help improve the health of the patients but also to give peace of mind to their family,” he said.

“Our goal for every student enrolled in the Breckinridge School of Nursing is to become a competent nursing clinician dedicated to a lifetime of caring and continue learning. Each student will be held to rigorous expectations without apology for the safety of our patients,” said Pam Lindsey, nursing program chairwoman. Lindsey holds a master’s degree in nursing and adult health and is a board certified adult healthcare clinical nurse specialist. The dignity of the patients, the highest standards of ethics and an active exchange between the faculty and the student is the basic philosophy of the nursing program, she explained.

The students of the drafting and design program presented Cuccinelli with a sketch of the Richmond Capital. It was almost a direct perspective of his uphill view and “of course you know what rolls down hill” he said to a burst of laughter.

Cuccinelli, in closing, quoted Sir Winston Churchill – “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”

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