Pitt County Memorial Hospital investing in the future

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2007

By Staff
Pitt County Memorial Hospital is making a huge investment in the future. It will pay for bricks and mortar, but what will matter even more will be the human lives that are improved as a result.
Last month, the hospital announced a $1 million donation toward the construction of a health-sciences building at Pitt Community College in Winterville.
The donation is the largest ever received by the college, but the hospital considers it a wise investment.
In the past year, about half of PCMH new-hires in critical, typically hard-to-fill allied health positions have been PCC graduates, while about 90 percent of PCC nursing graduates go to work for some branch of University Health Systems, the parent company of flagship hospital PCMH.
A lot of community colleges offer some programs in nursing and medical fields, but PCC offers a lot more than most. It’s the only place in the country where you can get training in positron emission tomography, according to Susan Nobles, a vice president at the college. Not even four-year schools offer that speciality, which is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of the body.
Beaufort County Hospital has, over the years, been supportive of Beaufort County Community College. The local hospital is in the process of funding $50,000 to expand health-related offerings at the BCCC campus. It also applied for and won a $142,000 grant that benefits the college.
The Pitt County Memorial Hospital gift will go toward a new two-story, 34,000-square-foot health-sciences building. It is being funded by public and private money, and it is projected to cost about $6.5 million. In addition to the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation contribution, the N.C. Community College System has promised $900,000, which Pitt County has agreed to match.
The new health-sciences building will allow the community college to expand its nursing program, a move that will come none to soon for PCMH, as hospitals everywhere continue to weather a shortage of available nurses to employ.
The hospital has been actively supporting the community college’s health-sciences program for close to 20 years, said Diane Poole, PCMH’s executive vice president. “This gift is just the continuation of a long-time history of working together and mutual encouragement.”
PCC can now accept 85 nursing students a year, and it hopes to raise that number to 100 if the Community College Board of Directors approves and the new building is built. A student may graduate with a two-year degree and earn $40,000 a year to start, Nobles said. Some may earn even more, she said.
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