The University of South Carolina board of trustees announced on Thursday a new phase in a growing public-private partnership between the university’s College of Nursing and Lexington Medical Center.
A 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art nursing simulation center and teaching space will be built on the hospital’s campus to provide clinical training for the university’s growing nursing student population. The project, funded by Lexington Medical Center, will be completed by 2024 and is estimated to cost $20 million.
The board also announced that the partnership will include a new graduate medical education affiliation to address the local and statewide needs for primary care physicians, a goal that aligns with the university’s School of Medicine Columbia’s mission to increase the number of primary care physicians in the state. The hospital’s first GME program will be in family medicine and will accept 13 residents per year beginning in summer 2023.
“Today’s announcements mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the relationship between the University of South Carolina and the Lexington Medical Center,” said Michael Amiridis, USC president. “The state-of the-art facility for the use of our nursing program on the hospital’s campus and the creation of 13 new residencies in family practice make a strong statement of our shared commitment to building the future of health care in the Midlands and across South Carolina.”
Tod Augsburger, Lexington’s Medical Center’s president and CEO, said the partnership will address the state’s mounting health care provider needs.
“Lexington Medical Center is excited to expand our relationship with the University of South Carolina to creatively solve two challenges – the nursing shortage and the growing need for primary care physicians,” Augsburger said. “These endeavors mark the beginning of a strong partnership that will improve the health of our communities for generations.”
With the new space, the university will be able to graduate 400 nurses per year annually in the Midlands, an 80% increase over the 220 nurses who graduated from the nursing program earlier this year.
The new building will be used primarily for clinical training of the university’s third- and fourth-year nursing bachelor’s students as well as master’s program students. The university’s interprofessional education program all will use classroom space.
The facility is expected to open for the first cohort of nursing students in fall 2025 with a groundbreaking expected this fall. Lexington Medical Center will build the new nursing facility and provide clinical instructors while the university will fund equipment needed for the simulation center as well as equipment and furnishings for classroom spaces.