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After nearly four decades working together to train the next generation of nurses, Southwest Baptist University and Mercy Springfield Communities are expanding their partnership to include a broader range of health care professions.
Leaders from SBU and Mercy met today to officially sign off on the expanded partnership, which deepens an already long-standing collaboration between these two regional health care leaders. For many years, SBU’s College of Health Professions focused on associate degrees in nursing and radiography, but the expansion with Mercy will now include a Bachelor of Science in nursing, a bachelor’s RN to BSN completion, a Master of Science in nursing and education, an associate of health science and a Bachelor of Science in health science.
“We are also excited to see the college renamed the SBU Mercy College of Health Professions,” said Brittney Hendrickson, dean of the College of Health Professions at SBU. “SBU and Mercy have been partners for many years, and it has allowed us to recruit and train health care professionals, especially nurses, who we hope will begin their health care careers here in the Ozarks. Expanding this partnership to welcome even more students interested in careers in health care is really exciting, and we know it will benefit our community.”
Dr. Rick Melson, SBU president, said the expansion of the university’s relationship with Mercy aligns with SBU’s goal of serving as the regional leader in health care education in Southwest Missouri. SBU’s Spring 2023 graduating class earned a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX nursing licensure exam.
“This partnership brings together two strong institutions with proven track records of equipping nurses and other health care professionals to ensure that our region has high-quality health care for years to come,” Melson said.
SBU and Mercy first began working together in 1986 when SBU entered a joint nursing education agreement with St. John’s Regional Medical Center, which would eventually be renamed Mercy Hospital Springfield in 2012. Since 1986, SBU nursing students have completed their clinical hours at Mercy Hospital Springfield.
“One of the big benefits of the program is that these nursing students are trained on the same devices our Mercy teams use, which means the day they graduate, they already know exactly how we operate at Mercy,” said Marie Moore, chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital Springfield. “Because of this training, these students require less time to onboard if they decide to work at Mercy. They’re so well trained that they’re basically ready to roll the day they graduate.”
On average, SBU graduates around 100 students from its nursing and radiography program each year, and many of those students decide to have careers at Mercy.
“Our partnership with SBU has provided an important pathway for students to easily and immediately plug into careers at Mercy, and when we’re facing a nationwide shortage of nurses and doctors, local channels like this become especially crucial,” Moore said. “By deepening our collaboration and expanding the number of health care programs available to students, we hope we can keep them here in the Springfield area for many years to come.