Sen. Carper and Rep. Castle Announce $162,117 Appropriation for Nursing School
U.S. Senator Tom Carper and U.S. Representative Michael Castle visited Beebe Medical Center Tuesday to announce a federal appropriation of $162,117 for the construction of a new Beebe School of Nursing.
"We appreciate the tremendous work the Beebe School of Nursing does," Rep. Michael Castle said. "You make an extraordinary effort to educate nurses. And we don't want to lose the graduates to other states. We have a tremendous need to produce nurses. They are vitally important to the healthcare in our state."
"This money sends a signal that your project enjoys support from both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives," Sen. Carper said. The funds are being provided through the Omnibus Package. Both men noted that Senator Joe Biden also worked with them to get the money for Beebe School of Nursing, and that the three work as a team for Delaware.
Beebe School of Nursing will celebrate its 87th anniversary this year. More than 800 Beebe graduates over the years have gone on to have nursing careers, both in Lewes and across the nation. The school is a "hospital-based, diploma program," and is the only one of its kind in Delaware. It has a two-year, rigorous program that offers education and theory in the classroom and hands-on, hospital experiences. The school is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and approved by the Delaware Board of Nursing.
The school is housed in a 1960-era building adjacent to the Lewes campus of Beebe Medical Center that has become too small and antiquated to meet the demands of the growing school. Beebe Medical Center originally considered renovating and expanding the facility, but has now decided to replace the old building with a modern, two-story building on adjacent property. The new building would allow the school to double the size of its enrollment from 30 s to 60 students a year and offer students the latest educational technologies. Both Sen. Carper and Rep. Castle acknowledged that the quality of the Beebe School of Nursing is well known throughout Delaware and surrounding areas.
Constance E. Bushey, RN, BSN, MEd., School Director, has said that one of the strength's of the school is that its students have the opportunity to train at Beebe Medical Center. "We offer more clinical hours than other nursing programs," she says. "We prepare our graduates for entry into any area. They learn total patient care, how to organize the care for several patients at a time, how to work with doctors' orders, give medications and assess patients."
Sen. Carper emphasized Delaware's need for more skilled nurses. He pointed out that eastern Sussex County, especially, is facing an explosion in the growth of residents over the age of 55 who will need more healthcare. "It is estimated that by 2030 there will be a quarter of a million people living down here and 41 percent of them will be 55 years and older," he said. He also noted that as the population in general ages, so does the nursing population and so new nurses are critical.
Rep. Castle said that between fiscal year 2004 and 2006 Beebe School of Nursing was allocated more than $600,000 for the Beebe School of Nursing through efforts of the Delaware delegation.
"We appreciate the ongoing support of Congressman Castle and Senator Carper of our plan to build a new school and to increase the class sizes so that we can help meet the growing need for skilled nurses," said Jeffrey M. Fried, President and CEO of Beebe Medical Center.
"We'll be back," Sen. Carper promised. "This is just the first step."
Beebe Medical Center is a not-for-profit community medical center with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health with the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us online at www.beebemed.org