11:43 a.m., Sept. 24, 2010----More than 50 people from Christiana Care Health System and the University of Delaware attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nurse Managed Health Center (NMHC) in McDowell Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
One of 250 such clinics across the U.S., the NMHC opened its doors to UD employees for job-related health services in August and has already treated more than 50 patients.
Kathleen Schell, interim director of UD's School of Nursing, welcomed the guests, who included seven physicians and staff members from CCHS, UD Provost Tom Apple, and faculty and staff from the UD College of Health Sciences.
“We're very grateful for our affiliation with Christiana on this venture,” Schell said. “The center is living proof of UD's 'Dare to be first' philosophy.”
She spoke of the center's focus on wellness and disease prevention and its educational benefits to nursing students, who will gain valuable experience with taking patient histories, conducting health assessments and screenings, and managing electronic records.
“They will also see firsthand the benefits of collaborating with others in the healthcare field,” Schell said.
Dr. Paula Stilllman, president of Christiana Care Health Initiatives, addressed the important role to be played by nurse managed clinics as the delivery of healthcare in America undergoes a major transformation. The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, she said, will be instrumental in this change, as DHSA is helping to break down the barriers of the past.
Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences at UD and executive director of DHSA, agreed, saying that the NMHC exemplifies why the alliance was founded.
“This new center lets us see the value added by partnerships,” she added. “All of the DHSA presidents are aligned in what they want to accomplish, and when that filters down to others in the partner organizations, we can move the dream forward.”
“The NMHC will enable us to provide service to our patients, educate the next generation of healthcare professionals, and conduct cutting-edge biomedical research -- which involves not only Petri dishes and animal models but also patient-oriented research.”
According to NMHC Manager Allen Prettyman, a certified nurse practitioner and an instructor at UD, the center is already building a base of research data and a pool of potential research subjects via patients who are willing to provide consent for their unidentified information to be used and those who agree to serve as subjects for future studies.
The ribbon cutting was timely, as National Nurse Managed Health Clinic Week will be celebrated from Oct. 3-9. The centers, which are generally affiliated with schools and colleges of nursing, are playing an increasingly important role in providing healthcare to areas where physicians are in short supply. They also serve as clinical education and practice sites for health professions students and faculty.
Article by Diane Kukich
Photos by Ambre Alexander