New Partnership Will Allow Nurses To Get Training In County

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A new partnership between the Gila County Health Department and Arizona State University's College of Nursing and Healthcare will allow nurses to train in Gila County.

While new to this area, the university has similar contracts around the nation.

Rural medicine offers a different learning experience than urban medicine, said Jendean Sartain, deputy director for the county's Division of Health and Community Services.

"In a rural community, you have less staff," she said. "Most of the time nurses do more than just direct nursing services."

Besides providing Gila County with more hands, nurses-in-training will learn about the needs of rural communities, and perhaps become interested in serving one. There is no money involved in the exchange.

"It allows us to give the rural slant on public health," Sartain said.

Liz Fernandez, an agency contract specialist with ASU's nursing program, said a student's request sparked the partnership. When nursing students ask to train in a specific location, the university does their best to comply.

Students often like to return home for their clinical -- hands-on, supervised -- training even if they attend ASU.

"We're trying to get new areas," Fernandez said. The school's online presence means students from around the nation need real life experience.

A student can complete that section of their education in North Carolina, Michigan, the Valley, or now, Gila County.

"There's no way we could expect them to come all the way over here," Fernandez said.

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