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University of South Carolina and Lexington Medical Center to Break Ground on New Building to Train Nurses

University of South Carolina and Lexington Medical Center to Break Ground on New Building to Train Nurses

February 20, 2023

West Columbia, S.C. – Lexington Medical Center and the University of South Carolina will break ground on a new building to train nurses on the hospital campus in West Columbia. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

This project will grow a public-private partnership between the university’s College of Nursing and Lexington Medical Center. A 52,000-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 of South Carolina’s growing nursing student population.

“As the only locally-owned and independent hospital in the Midlands, Lexington Medical Center has a long-held commitment to excellence in nursing. Our partnership with the University of South Carolina will ensure that we can help teach skilled, compassionate nurses who want to keep working in South Carolina and take care of our families, friends and neighbors in the future,” said Tod Augsburger, president & CEO of Lexington Medical Center. “As leaders in the Midlands, our organizations share a responsibility and a vision to enhance services, create opportunities and support growth in our region. This partnership will improve the health of our communities for generations,”

Expected to be complete in 2024, 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.

“This partnership with Lexington Medical Center will provide advanced clinical training for our nursing students in a state-of-the-art learning environment,” said University of South Carolina President Michael Amiridis. “It demonstrates the commitment of our combined leadership to work together to improve health care and patient outcomes in the Midlands and across the state.”

Registered nurses are crucial to health care, but they’re in short supply – especially in South Carolina. Reasons include an aging population, expansive roles for nurses and high turnover made worse by pandemic burnout.

The University of South Carolina College of Nursing graduates approximately 220 nurses from the Columbia campus each May. With this new space at Lexington Medical Center, the University of South Carolina will be able to graduate 400 nurses per year in the Midlands — an 80% increase annually.

“South Carolina is projected to have the fourth highest nursing shortage in the country by 2030,” said Melissa Taylor, RN, MSN, NE-A, BC, vice president and chief nursing officer at Lexington Medical Center. “We’re excited about the impact of this partnership, which will grow the pipeline of skilled nurses for our organization and the state and give qualified individuals more opportunity to enter the nursing profession.”

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 health sciences interprofessional education program also will use classroom space. The facility is expected to open for the first cohort of nursing students in fall 2024.

“Our innovative partnership with Lexington Medical Center will have a lasting impact on the training for future nurses and the care residents receive,” said University of South Carolina College of Nursing Dean Jeannette O. Andrews, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are gratified to help lead this charge for nursing workforce development and thrilled that Lexington Medical Center is investing in the future of nursing education in our state.”

University of South Carolina nursing students are consistently in the top 1% in the U.S. for their pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examinations for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The college’s family nurse practitioners and adult gerontological acute care nurse practitioners also have 100% board pass rates. The college ranks No. 1 for the best graduate nursing online program overall and for veterans according to the latest U.S. News & World Report. Since 2015, the college has increased prelicensure nursing student enrollment by 33%.

Last summer, the university and hospital also announced a partnership for a graduate medical education program to train primary care physicians. The hospital’s first GME program will be in family medicine and will accept 13 residents per year beginning this summer.

Media members are invited to attend. Directions: Turn onto Sunset Court across the street from the hospital on Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. Park on the left in the gravel lot. Attendants will assist you to the event.

Also attached: Architectural rendering of building.


About the University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is a globally recognized, high-impact research university committed to a superior student experience and dedicated to innovation in learning, research and community engagement. Founded in 1801, the university offers more than 300 degree programs and is a top-tier Carnegie Foundation research institution. More than 50,000 students are enrolled at one of 20 locations throughout the state, including the research campus in Columbia. With more than 60 nationally ranked academic programs including top-ranked programs in international business, the nation's best honors college and distinguished programs in engineering, law, medicine, public health and the arts, the university is helping to build healthier, more educated communities in South Carolina and around the world.

About Lexington Medical Center

Lexington Medical Center is a 607-bed teaching hospital in West Columbia, South Carolina. It anchors a health care network that includes five community medical centers and employs a staff of more than 8,000 health care professionals. The hospital is ranked best hospital in the Columbia Metro and #2 hospital in South Carolina by U.S. News & World Report and was named one of the “Best Places to Work in South Carolina” by SC Biz News, in partnership with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group. Lexington Medical Cancer Center is an accredited Cancer Center of Excellence and has a clinical research and education affiliation with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. The network includes a cardiovascular program recognized by the American College of Cardiology as South Carolina's first HeartCARE Center. The network also has an occupational health center, the largest skilled nursing facility in the Carolinas, an Alzheimer's care center and more than 70 physician practices. Lexington Medical Center operates one of the busiest Emergency departments in South Carolina, treating nearly 100,000 patients each year. The hospital delivers more than 4,000 babies each year and performs more than 25,000 surgeries. Its postgraduate medical education programs include family medicine and transitional year residencies.