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Press Release
May 5, 2006
Denise Ciccarelli
(843) 792-8421


Sunset Rotary Club gives $2,500 to fund advanced education for South Carolina nurse

Charleston, SC - The Sunset Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island has contributed $2,500 to the Medical University of South Carolina, enabling the College of Nursing to offer a scholarship to a nursing student from the Hilton Head area.

The donation will allow one nurse per year to continue his or her nursing education and pursue a baccalaureate or master's degree through the college's online learning program.

"The gift from Sunset Rotary Club comes at a critical time, when the nation is in the midst of a severe nursing shortage," said Gail Stuart, the college's dean. A 2005 report published by the Department of Health and Human Services projects a shortage of 29 percent or over 800,000 registered nurses, including 6,741 in South Carolina, by the year 2020. "Unless this trend is reversed, the nursing shortage could have a devastating impact on the delivery of healthcare services in South Carolina and the nation as a whole," said Stuart.

As one response to the nursing workforce crisis, the college instituted online learning programs that allow it to deliver its nursing curriculum in a cost-effective manner to students in offsite locations throughout the entire state of South Carolina. Since its inception in 2003, the online curriculum has helped nurses across the state obtain their baccalaureate degrees while remaining in their own communities. "This is critically important since about three-fourths of registered nurses in the state have an associate's degree. Many of these individuals wish to receive their baccalaureate degree in nursing but are constrained by work and family commitments," said Stuart.

The Sunset Rotary Club hopes that its gift will inspire other Rotary Clubs in the state to take action and respond to the nursing shortage by supporting the online learning programs and other nursing initiatives as well.

"We are delighted to make this $2,500 donation and we look forward to meeting the nursing student who will benefit from the scholarship," Rotary Club President F. Truitt Rabun, Jr. said.

Dean Gail Stuart is excited about the Sunset Rotary Club's support of the college's online learning program and what it means for the citizens of South Carolina.

"We are incredibly grateful for the Sunset Rotary Club's contribution and for their support of nursing in South Carolina," Stuart said. "This gift does more than provide one nurse with advance learning opportunities. It also reveals the club's dedication to the health and well-being of the citizens of South Carolina. For that we are most thankful."

(L to R) Libby Laffitte, Carole S. Mottel, Shelton Bosley, Gen. Howard Davis, MUSC Nursing Dean Dr. Gail Stuart, Truitt Rabun, Ed Dowaschinski, Daryl Laffitte and Karen Ryan

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