NORTON, Va. – The Lonesome Pine Hospital Community Fund continues to enhance health care quality in Southwest Virginia by making additional contributions to support the nursing programs at local colleges and Wellmont Health System hospitals.

The community fund recently donated $20,000 to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise to assist the nursing school’s simulation lab. This contribution will also help the nursing program in purchasing licensure review materials.

The fund also provided $10,000 to Mountain Empire Community College to help students in the registered nursing program who are required to pay fees for a Comprehensive Review and Assessment Program from Assessment Technologies Institute. This program is a focused resource that addresses diverse learning styles and provides multiple remediation tools, traditional and online reading materials, videos and assessments. These ultimately prepare the students for their state licensure exams.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to support these two outstanding educational institutions, which have consistently provided high-caliber nurses for Wellmont’s medical facilities,” said Ed Roop, chairman of the Mountain View Regional Medical Center and Lonesome Pine Hospital board of directors. “These professionals contribute significantly to the compassionate care delivered by Wellmont in Southwest Virginia and throughout the region.”

In recent years, the community fund has financially supported the growth of UVa-Wise’s simulation lab. The lab plays a critical role in enabling students to practice different medical scenarios as if they were really happening so they gain valuable knowledge about the care they will provide in live situations during their career.

A year ago, a donation from the community fund enabled the college to upgrade one of the mannequins students use in their training. Now, the nursing school will have assistance in the purchase of recording equipment so professors and students can review the procedures and techniques used in the training sessions to further develop their skills.

“The generous gift from the Lonesome Pine Hospital Community Fund will help UVa-Wise upgrade equipment to enhance our proven efforts to prepare our nursing students for a successful transition from the classroom to patient care,” said Chancellor Donna Henry. “Our nursing program is thriving, and our graduates are providing health care through the region and beyond. We are thankful for Wellmont’s continued support of our college and its programs.”

Members of the community fund’s board have also been cognizant of the impact they can have on the development of future nurses who attend Mountain Empire.

One of the major needs for nursing students at Mountain Empire is assistance with theComprehensive Review and Assessment Program fees, which cost $600 per person. School administrators say this creates a financial burden for students, who also are responsible fortuition, books and other fees.

In addition, all nursing students have to pay for drug screening and background checks, as well as physicals and vaccinations. Along with the testing fees, this can increase the cost for a student preparing for a nursing career by more than $1,000.

“If a student has not planned for these expenses or does not receive help in paying these costs, it can create a financial hardship, especially for low-income students,” said Dr. Scott Hamilton, the college’s president. “We greatly appreciate the community fund’s philanthropic backing and are pleased to have such a forward-thinking and civic-minded organization in the region. It’s making a tremendous difference in helping our hard-working students as they enter the work force.”