GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) – Enterprise State Community College is joining forces with the Wiregrass Medical Center to expand their nursing program to Geneva.

In addition to the medical center, the Wiregrass Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center will be providing clinical rotations for students.

Those involved hope that this will help train students and transform healthcare for the city of Geneva.

A grant program from the Alabama Centers for Rural Healthcare Opportunity made this possible.

”I know so often, we put them in a lab setting and try to re-enact what a hospital setting would be like. The opportunity that we are affording students here could give them hands-on, real-life, training in a clinical setting,” Amy Phillips, the nursing program coordinator at ESCC, said.

In addition to nursing, students will get hands-on training in emergency medical services.

Other partners include the Geneva Regional Career Technical Center, who will dedicate classrooms for the program where academic and health science courses will be held.

State Representative Jeff Sorrells says it is a great opportunity, but not just for students.

”We have lost too many of our rural hospitals in the last few years and this program will go a long way towards helping us retain employees in our rural areas. Being partnered with enterprise state is going to be a tremendous asset for Geneva county but it will also be for the wiregrass,” Rep. Sorrells said.

Tammy McDaniels, the quality director at the hospital knows firsthand how important this program will be for the area.

”we are excited about getting nursing students in here. We are an underserved population. This is a rural area and there are not a lot of students who come to this area and can stay. We are excited about getting the students in here, building relationships with them, and letting them see what rural healthcare is about. It is a different ball game than what you are used to when you get to a bigger area. We are excited about getting the students in here and showing them what we have to offer,” McDaniels said.

The $1.2 million grant will be used for small renovations to the instruction lab before welcoming their first group of students in Geneva.

This is Enterprise State’s second health science instruction lab.

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