BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When your health is on the line, many times, that first healing touch comes from a nurse. Before nurses ever set foot into a hospital, their training begins in the classroom.
The programs at Southern University's School of Nursing have become known as some of the best. The Louisiana Nurses Foundation named Southern's nursing school as School of the Year in 2010, 2012, and 2015. The school offers four programs, including undergraduate, nurse practitioner, doctorate in nurse practitioner, and PhD programs.
"You want to have healthcare providers who are competent, caring, who are culturally diverse, and who are able to meet the healthcare needs of our citizens," said director of the nurse practitioner programs, Dr. Sandra Brown.
On Friday, the school will graduate its largest nursing class in the history of program: 134 students total. The school also produces the most minority nurses in the country.
Brown says since the school's inception in 2000, they've produced more than 400 minority nurse practitioners and more than 40 minority doctoral nurse practitioners. Brown noted some of those were first generation college graduates and many came from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Brown says their students' success helps fill healthcare provider gaps found around the state. "In providing this number of nurses out there, we're able to reach health professional shortage areas where rural and under-served populations will be able to have access to healthcare," said Brown.
National Nurses Week 2017 is celebrated May 6 - 12.