By Mercy's Nichole Burgdorf and Maryville's Sue Davis
ST. LOUIS - In the 1970s, Maryville University and Mercy forged a partnership to ensure the health care leaders of tomorrow received the best education possible. Today, that dedication to excellence in education was strengthened with the announcement that, thanks to a generous gift from Mercy, Maryville’s nursing program will be named The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing, after the founder of the Sisters of Mercy.
“Naming the school after Catherine is a great honor for all of Mercy,” said Mercy president and CEO Lynn Britton. “It acknowledges the tremendous influence she and the Sisters have had on health care, both by the bedside and through the ‘Careful Nursing’ philosophy that’s still taught to Maryville students today. It also honors those who helped make our partnership with Maryville possible, especially Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, whose leadership helped us transition from two schools into an outstanding unified program that’s still going strong today.”
Maryville University President Mark Lombardi thanked Mercy and said, “This partnership will expand Maryville’s health care education throughout the entire Mercy network and beyond through on-site and online programs that enable us to reach more students than ever before.”
The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing will move into the Myrtle E. and Earl E. Walker Hall when it is completed in the January 2015. This building will be the new home of Maryville’s College of Health Professions, which includes the school of nursing along with physical, occupational and rehabilitation therapy and counseling, as well as music therapy and speech and language pathology.
It will house more than 70,000-square-feet of teaching space that uses new technology like smart boards and Apple TV. Helping to bring hands-on clinical education into the 21st century are the lifelike adult and child mannequins that can be programmed with symptoms to simulate illness, giving students classroom training that’s real to life.
“Being well prepared for the realities of nursing is key to serving our patients,” said Christine Crain, chief operating officer of Mercy Children’s Hospital and Maryville alum. “When I graduated with my nursing degree, I knew I had the best possible foundation for my career, but this partnership will help ensure future graduates are even better trained.”
The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing continues a long-standing tradition at Maryville of ensuring a strong education for leaders in health care, especially within Mercy. In the last 40 years, since Mercy Junior College merged with Maryville, nearly 300 Mercy co-workers have graduated and gone on to have successful careers in health care, many in leadership.
Jon Swope, regional president for Mercy's central communities in Arkansas, Southwest Missouri and Kansas, is one of those. He received his degree in management from Maryville. “As a non-clinician, getting my education as part of a program where Mercy’s nursing tradition is valued really helped me understand and have a greater respect for what our caregivers do for patients each day. That’s the human side of the health care business, something Maryville and Mercy have always valued.”
Charles Gulas, dean of Maryville’s College of Health Professions, said, “Our organizations have always shared a commitment to excellence and compassionate care. By working even closer through this new school, we’ll ensure that students who will shape health care in the future are trained with the best possible academic and clinical resources.”
Maryville’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement Tom Eschen said the partnership is especially gratifying because it’s for the long-term. “Maryville and Mercy have worked together for decades and we’ve only gotten stronger because of it. As quickly as the world is changing, I’m sure this won’t be our last venture together. We look forward to seeing what the future brings and evolving to meet the needs of students for years to come.”
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 39,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Maryville University is a selective, comprehensive and nationally ranked private institution with over 5,000 students. Maryville offers more than 75 degrees at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels to students from 46 states and 30 countries. Consistently ranked as a top private school by Forbes and Kiplinger’s, in 2012 Maryville was named the No. 1 Overperforming University in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Maryville’s athletics teams compete at the Division II level in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Founded in 1872, the University is ideally situated on 130 picturesque acres in West St. Louis County.