ADA, Okla. - Located just a little more than two miles from Mercy Hospital Ada lies a local university that helps provide an invaluable resource for patient care.
“East Central University, or ECU, is an obvious choice when it comes to recruiting nurses,” said nursing recruiter, Amy Sneed. “Many current co-workers in Ada are actually ECU alumni.”
It’s not hard to find ECU alumni around Mercy Hospital Ada. Recently, almost a dozen new graduates from the program were hired. A number of nursing students also work part time in the hospital. One of those students is Melaney Landis, an ECU student who works as a nurse tech in the emergency room (ER).
“I actually started at Mercy as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and later joined the extern program Mercy offers to ECU nursing students,” Landis said. “Through working as a CNA and the program, I was able to receive hands on training in a hospital setting.”
One way Mercy Ada provides hands on learning is through mock interviews to prepare nursing students for questions they may face when applying for a job.
“It was really beneficial, and it was really official,” Landis said. “It made me much more comfortable about the interview process and what I can expect.”
Mercy Ada also allows students the opportunity to do clinical rotations in a number of hospital departments.
“I was able to work in the intensive care unit, the ER, and labor and delivery,” Landis said. “It was during those clinical rotations that I realized how much I love working in the ER, and that I want to remain in the ER throughout my career.”
Mercy Hospital leaders say not only are these rotations beneficial for nursing students, they also help with patient care.
“The clinical rotations really give our students the exposure they need to become well prepared and well equipped nurses,” Sneed said. “Students can study something in a book as much as they want, but it doesn’t really connect with them until they are able to apply it in a hospital setting.”
After completing the extern program, Landis says Mercy offered her a $4,000 dollar college scholarship to sign on as a nurse tech while she finishes school.
“That scholarship helped out a lot,” Landis said. “The money paid for a huge portion of my tuition and showed me how invested Mercy Ada is in keeping me and other ECU nurses around.”
Mercy Ada also provides ECU nursing students with tuition reimbursement.
“We put a lot of time into ECU Nursing students because we know that they are able to provide quality care to our patients,” said Joni Pillow, clinical informatics lead at Mercy Hospital Ada.
So far, Landis has been with Mercy Ada for 3 years and she’s not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.
“The fact that Mercy Ada has invested time and money into just me alone makes me realize how much they differ from other hospitals,” Landis said. “They really do care about both students and nurses.”
Mercy Hospital Ada president Lori Wightman agrees.
“We do what we can to mentor these young professionals and we are thankful to ECU for providing a supply of talented and high quality nurses.”
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.