United Supermarkets Helps Bring Nurses to the Field

United Supermarkets has joined South Plains College in its efforts to graduate more registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses with a $150,000 contribution to the college’s new Center for Nursing and Allied Health Education, which will open this summer.

The funds will be used to equip the 27-room nursing skills lab that is a central component to the 36,000 square foot facility for the college’s nursing programs.

“We are partnering with South Plains College in its new Center for Nursing and Allied Health Education,” said Robert Taylor, CEO of United. “This facility will help train more than 125 students each year who will be providing healthcare services for communities throughout our area, and we [want] to play a part in making this happen. We are grateful to South Plains College for helping meet the educational needs of our region for more than 50 years, and to our guests in the Levelland and Lubbock areas for their continued support, which makes this gift possible.”

United has operated a store in Levelland since 1961.

The new educational center at South Plains College will house the college’s associate degree nursing, vocational nursing and physical therapist assistant programs. It will enable the two nursing programs to increase the number of students admitted into the programs by 50 percent. A grand opening and dedication for the new facility is scheduled for Aug. 21.

“We are very grateful to have United Supermarkets join us in working together to increase the number of qualified nursing and allied health personnel in our service area,” said Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of South Plains College. “United has a long-standing tradition of supporting education at all levels and we are indeed honored to receive their support and investment in South Plains College. We believe this project is one that will have a significant impact on the quality of life in so many communities in the years to come.”

South Plains College acquired a former grocery store space in Gentry Square located west of the Levelland Campus and adjacent to the community’s medical district. The $3 million renovation project features seven modern classrooms, three separate skills labs, an audio-video observation and recording suite, two computer testing labs and faculty offices and a capacity to accommodate more than 250 students each semester.

The funds provided by United Supermarkets will be used to outfit the nursing skills lab much like a hospital suite of patient rooms. The rooms will be equipped with electric patient beds, low fidelity Laerdal patient mannequins, wound treatment accessories for the mannequins, overbed and bedside tables, intravenous solution stands, and single patient headwall training units for mock oxygen, suction and medical gas applications.

“When you walk into our skills labs, it will be like you are walking onto the floor of one of our local hospitals,” said Sue Ann Lopez, dean of health occupations at South Plains College. “Our nursing faculty have carefully chosen the equipment that will be used to teach students care and treatment procedures.”

One of the state-of-the-art features in the facility will be the capability to video record student performance of skills for observation and debriefing sessions. Students will enter a patient room to administer a series of care or treatment procedures and the session will be video recorded for instructor and student critique. Fourteen patient rooms in the skills lab will be equipped with this technology.

Lubbock, Texas-based United operates 51 stores under four distinct formats: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and United Express. The company’s 52nd store – a fourth-generation Market Street location – is currently under construction in Lubbock.

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