RMC Donates Jacksonville Hospital to JSU Nursing Program


The Regional Medical Center announced on May 17 that it would be closing Jacksonville Hospital on June 30 and donating it to the JSU nursing program.

The donation won’t become official until JSU’s Board of Trustees votes in mid-July to accept the offer, but given the program’s need after the March 19 tornado that hit campus – severely damaging Wallace Hall – the timing is perfect.

“An opportunity like this rarely, if ever, comes to a regional university,” said Christie Shelton, dean of JSU’s School of Health Professions and Wellness. “This is something you’d usually only see in academic health centers. To have access to a hospital that’s truly created for urgent care is an amazing opportunity for our students.”

Details are still being worked out for JSU’s use of the building and plans will not be finalized until after the Board of Trustee meets in July. However, the nursing program’s skill lab will be moved to the hospital. JSU could be one of only three nursing programs in Alabama to have access to such a facility, alongside the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of South Alabama. 

With Wallace Hall out of commission until possibly Spring 2019, nursing classes have moved over to the Houston Cole Library. It’s still a time of great possibilities for the nursing program. In addition to the donation of the hospital, Wallace is being renovated in such a way as to allow for larger classrooms. As of the upcoming fall semester, the JSU nursing program’s enrollment will increase 45 percent by accepting 120 students.

The JSU nursing program toured the hospital a few weeks after the spring tornado to explore partnerships but, according to Shelton, “never imagined that something like this might come along.”

JSU has a long-standing working relationship with the hospital. For years, nursing students have performed clinicals there and the university houses its Doctorate of Nursing Practice program and its nursing simulation lab next door at Brookstone Physician Center.

“It’s an area we know and feel comfortable with,” Shelton said.