Congressman Doug Collins, right, watches as Nancy McAlexander, an assistant professor, shows various moulage wounds on a practice mannequin at the Brenau University Gainesville East Campus on Thursday, March 31, 2016.
Congressman Doug Collins, right, watches Assistant Professor Nancy McAlexander tend to a practice mannequin at the Brenau University School of Nursing’s patient simulator lab on March 31.

Nursing School Gives Georgia Congressman High Confidence in Skills of New Health Professionals

Apr 6, 2016
Brenau Staff

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, said his recent tour of the technologically advanced Brenau University School of Nursing gave him a high level of confidence that “our nursing and health care professionals are being trained at the highest level.”

Guided by School of Nursing Director Dina Hewitt, Collins on March 31 met with Brenau professors and experienced some of the school’s learning-based health care environments, including the school’s computer-controlled human patient simulators designed for hands-on nurse-patient skills training.

Collins also praised the school’s faculty and staff for their work that results in turning out scores of well-educated undergraduate and graduate nurses each year.

“You can have great tools, but without passion, it’s going nowhere,” he said.

Hewitt arranged for Collins – a former neighbor – to tour the nursing school in connection with the National Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Legislative Day, which was held a few days earlier in Washington, D.C.

“He is always available to meet with us, always understanding,” she said. “He is always knowledgeable about the issues facing both health care needs in our local community as well as at the national level.”

Collins’ visit to the campus followed the March 14 action by the Georgia Board of Nursing to renew the full approval status of Brenau’s undergraduate nursing degree through December 2021. In addition to the baccalaureate degree programs, the nursing school also offers graduate degrees, including a straight-to-master’s degree program scheduled to start this summer for registered nurses with two-year degrees and a doctor of nursing practice degree program that is already underway.

The Brenau School of Nursing operates from the Brenau East Campus at Featherbone Communiversity, which is within Collins’ 20-county North Georgia 9th Congressional District. For all of his constituents, the congressman said, health care, both preventative and long-term, is becoming an increasingly important issue.

“It’s changing rapidly because much of the district is changing both demographically and age-wise,” he said. “If you’re looking for job stability, this is the place to be.”

Health care job opportunities abound in northeast Georgia, Hewitt said, especially when it comes to mid-level providers. However, Collins said that Brenau’s nursing graduates not only fill jobs in an area where there is an acute shortage of health care providers across the broad, but also provide an economic boost to the district and an overall improvement to the quality of life.