1 million dollar donation proposed to enhance NEO’s nursing program

MIAMI, Okla. –Nursing shortages have been ongoing in the four states for a while now.

“Joplin’s definitely unique, it’s a market where especially in the “med surge” area you really are dependant on new nurse graduates being part of your hiring,” said Kevin Manning, Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Hospital in Joplin.

Which is why Ottawa County District 2 Commissioner Steven Chasteen made a motion at Monday’s commissioner meeting to allocate one million dollars of pandemic relief funds to NEO’s nursing program.

“Due to the Coronavirus funds out of Washington DC is the only reason we have this opportunity so it’s really a historical thing the motion that we put up…especially a million dollar donation motion,” Chasteen said.

NEO A&M’s nursing program is known to add more nurses to not only Ottawa county, but Joplin and Pittsburg as well.

Nursing student Jack Martin says he’s already seen nursing shortage’s impact in the area.

“This summer I started working at Freeman Health System and there has been a massive shortage of nurses…many of them are working seven days a week, so I absolutely do see a shortage,” said Martin.

Martin hopes this donation, if approved, could incentivize more students to join the program, bringing more nurses to the four states.

“I think if they hear there are new facilities in place then students will definitely maybe come have a look at NEO.”

NEO’s president adds that this donation could also allow more real-life experiences for students they may not otherwise get in the classroom.

“The nursing program allows up to 30% of their clinicals to take place in simulation labs, and so simulators, birthing simulators, there’s a lot of different types of simulation labs that we could utilize, some of ours are out of date, and so to create those real lives in an environment where students learning don’t have to worry about causing harm to some individual or someone in that setting and so this is extraordinary and bold request by Commissioner Chasteen and we’re very excited about the potential of being back here next week to see what the commission decides,” said Kyle Stafford, President of NEO A&M.  

Ultimately, the donation, if approved, would create better experiences for nursing students,  adding quality nurses in an area that needs them.