Edinburg Regional Medical Center announced Friday, Oct. 5 the initiation of a $30,000 annual contribution to The University of Texas-Pan American for nursing scholarships, and its contribution will be matched by the UTPA Foundation to provide $60,000 for students.
J. Chris Smolik, ERMC chief executive officer, presented the $30,000 donation to Dr. Helen Castillo, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. He said the program is the start of a valuable relationship between the hospital and UTPA that will ease the state's nursing shortage.
"We hope this removes one more barrier to get more students involved in nursing," said Smolik. "We're very proud of this moment and very happy to be part of this with the University."
Joining Smolik and UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez for the presentation at the International Trade and Technology Building were Roland S. Arriola, UTPA vice president for External Affairs; Roy Martinez, UTPA Foundation chair; and Maggie Barreiro, ERMC chief nurse executive.
Nevárez said UT Pan American also is honored to partner with Edinburg Regional Medical Center, noting an increase in nurses will provide a better quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley.
"There is a tremendous shortage of nurses, and the nursing crisis is going to become greater - not less - unless we start doing things to address the problem," Nevárez said. "It is very meaningful. The nursing shortage has to be attacked on many fronts, and financial aid is one of the most important."
The $60,000 will provide 20 nursing seniors with a $3,000 scholarship each, as well as the opportunity to gain valuable experience while doing a paid internship at the Edinburg hospital.
Scholarship participants must participate in a summer clinical concentration program of 32 hours a week for six weeks. They will rotate through the hospital during their internship, gaining experience in different nursing units such as rehabilitation, emergency room procedures and pediatrics.