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Healthcare advocates support RN education with teaching facility


On Nov. 30, Washington State University Tri-Cities received $2.9 million in contributions from regional healthcare donors toward renovating a commercial building in Richland, Wash., into a state-of-the-art teaching facility for the college of nursing.

The nursing program at WSU Tri-Cities is quite competitive, with more than 120 students applying for no more than 48 openings each year, Patricia G. Butterfield, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean and professor at the WSU College of Nursing, said in a news release.

Leaders from Group Health Cooperative, Kadlec Health System, Lourdes Health Network, Lampson International and WSU gathered to announce the regional partnership. The donations and in-kind support include Kadlec’s offer of a $1-per-year lease for 20 years, with a 10-year extension.

“From a high-fidelity simulation lab and larger practice lab, to improved classrooms and staff offices, the new building will be a catalyst for best preparing nurses across the region,” Butterfield said in the news release. “I am in awe at how you have all come together for the greater cause to help bring talented, educated and dedicated nurses into your community.”

Construction on the former retail space is expected to start in April, with nursing classes to begin in January 2014.

“Educating a nurse is a community effort, and we are so grateful for your support,” Butterfield said in the news release. “Together, we are reinventing healthcare [education].”

“Nurses are key to the quality of healthcare that we have in the Tri-Cities,” Bill Lampson of Lampson International in Kennewick, co-chairman of the WSU Tri-Cities, said in the release. “It’s always been an important giving priority for my family, particularly for my mom, Billie Jean, during her years as a volunteer with Kennewick General Hospital and with many other causes. Lampson International’s commitment to this project continues that legacy.”

Scott Armstrong, president and CEO of Group Health, said the statewide cooperative is pleased to partner with local hospitals and WSU in making this important education project a reality.

“Group Health has nearly 60,000 members in central and southeastern Washington,” he said in the news release. “We know that the quality of care they receive from our contracted healthcare network is in many ways dependent on the quality of the nurses working in those clinics and hospitals. We believe it’s important for nurses to be able to achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.”

John Serle, president and CEO of Lourdes Health Network in Pasco, Wash., echoed Armstrong’s respect for the nursing profession. “At some point in all of our lives, we access the healthcare system,” Serle said in the release. “Hospitals, and the nurses who provide care within those hospitals, are integral to a community’s overall health.”

Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland has provided steady and generous support while details of the Tri-Cities nursing partnership were developed.

“For several years now, we have seen many WSU-trained nurses join our team at Kadlec,” Lane Savitch, president, said in the release. “This project ensures that these high-demand nurses have the state-of-the-art training facilities needed to fully provide quality healthcare for the Tri-Cities and the surrounding region. We look forward to many more success stories coming from this wonderful partnership.”

For information about the partnership, visit


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