Prisma Health Invests in Mary Black College of Nursing

October 5, 2022 at 5:17 pm

Prisma Health has announced a significant gift to the Mary Black College of Nursing that will support scholarships and encourage career opportunities with the health center. This fall, 24 juniors and seniors pursuing a BSN were selected as Prisma Scholars, with each receiving a $2,500 award. Prisma Health will also offer employment opportunities to interested graduating seniors and provide internships to those who are still students. 

“Our Mary Black College of Nursing is playing a vital role in curbing one of the nation’s highest projected nursing shortages with the second-highest number of BSN graduates in South Carolina,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. “We thank Prisma Health for their help in creating transformative experiences and opportunities for our nursing students.”

Prisma Health’s contribution to USC Upstate is part of a $5 million investment the health care system is making to promote nursing scholarship at five institutions across the state. Other schools that will receive funding include Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, Greenville Technical College and Midlands Tech.

“Prisma Health is committed to creating a strong, durable and successful pipeline of health care workers for South Carolina,” said Mark O’Halla, president and CEO of Prisma Health, in a statement. “Our collaborative efforts to create the nursing scholars program combines academics, research, innovation, and health care practice to address the changing needs and experiences necessary to create the health care workforce of the future. Through this investment, we are creating pathways for students to obtain vibrant careers at Prisma Health with a future for growth and advancement.”

Dr. Shirleatha Lee, dean of MBCON, said the partnership is a win for students and the region. “There are a lot of facilities and clinical sites that need nurses right now,” Lee said. “Being able to make that transition into practice much easier and more streamlined is a benefit to not only the student but also the facility.”

Additionally, she said, “The scholarships help support student success and progression toward degree completion because they allow students to work less and focus more on their education.”

While a portion of the grant will be used on immediate scholarships, a majority has been set aside to grow an endowment for future aid. The gift also provides funding for a recruiter/liaison who will help recruit students for the BSN program and provide information about career opportunities available at Prisma Health.

For students who already have an interest in working with Prisma, the partnership will help them connect early with the health care system, and take advantage of internships, shadowing experiences, and NCLEX support, Lee said.

“As students graduate, it ensures they feel more comfortable. And when you are more comfortable, and more connected to the facility, your likelihood of staying there increases,” she said.

Akira Salley, a USC Upstate senior who will graduate in May, said the grant has ensured she stays on track this year. In addition to helping her cover her rent and her travel expenses between Spartanburg and Prisma Health in Greenville, where she is doing her clinicals, the grant will also help her purchase NCLEX study guides and attend prep classes. After graduation, Salley hopes to work as an ICU nurse or further her education and become a certified registered nurse anesthetist in the Prisma system.  

“I had medical problems myself and seeing how the nurses helped me get through that made me want to become a nurse,” she said.  “I want to make a difference in the people of color community because everyone should receive the same good quality of treatment.”