Union College presented the 2019 Community Partnership Award to Bryan Health at an annual community breakfast event on Tuesday, February 5, recognizing Bryan Health’s long-term partnership with Union College to educate health care professionals.
That relationship was illustrated when a former Union student addressed the community leaders at the awards breakfast. “I’m excited to be a product of the partnership between Union and Bryan Health,” said Mary Unegbu, who graduated from Union’s nursing program last spring. As a senior, she completed a 135-hour preceptorship in the hospital’s cardiac progressive unit, building the skills required in the nursing profession. Within days of passing her boards, the hospital hired her to practice those skills as a nurse in the same unit.
“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate and value the partnership with Union College,” said Bryan Health president and CEO Kimberly Russel as she accepted the award. “Community partnerships are a central part of our mission. It really goes back to the philosophy that providing health care is a team sport.”
The Community Partnership Award recognizes organizations in Lincoln that help accomplish Union’s mission to empower students for learning, service and leadership. Previous recipients include Union Bank & Trust, People’s City Mission and the American Red Cross.
“Bryan Health is a significant clinical partner with us and we appreciate it,” said Dr. Nicole Orian, chair of the Division of Nursing. “It’s a strong, stable health care organization with good patient outcomes that is dedicated to mentoring our students as they transform into nursing professionals. They also provide our students with job opportunities both before and after graduation.”
Frankie Rose, vice president for academics at Union, said that 36 percent of the school’s nursing graduates choose to start their careers at Bryan Health. Lenny Finn is one of those graduates. After earning his diploma in December 2016, he applied to Bryan Health as his first choice. Later, he convinced his fiance, also a nurse, to work for the same organization.
“Bryan Health is very open, fair, and honest with the employees,” said Finn. “They treat us great.”
Dr. Vinita Sauder, Union College president, said that half of the student body comes from outside the Midwest. A study shows that 52 percent of these educational transplants choose to stay in Lincoln to begin their careers. “We’re contributing to brain gain,” she said.
Union’s connection with Bryan Health involves more than nursing. Union’s physician assistant students also do clinical rotations at the hospital, while Bryan Health’s Biomedical Science students sometimes continue their education in Union’s PA program. International Rescue and Relief students at Union also pick up experience at Bryan Health.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized for the teaching aspect of what we do at Bryan,” said Russel. “The emphasis on teaching is what enables us to provide care in the future.”
By Kim Peckham, Director of Communication Strategy