FVSU Partners with Phoebe to Launch New Nursing Degree Program

by Mechell McCrary

Posted on Aug 12, 2021

Fort Valley State University (FVSU) and Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. today announced an educational partnership to launch a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that aims to address the critical need for nurses in rural Georgia. The $240,000 investment from Phoebe will support the development of the BSN degree at FVSU providing students the education, training and career path opportunity to become licensed registered nurses to work in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

Phoebe Chief Executive Officer Scott Steiner and FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones formalized the agreement during a signing ceremony held at the university's campus. Under the new agreement, FVSU nursing students will have access to clinical rotations at Phoebe facilities. Additionally, both nursing students and instructors will gain training opportunities at the Phoebe Simulation and Innovation Center located at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga. The agreement also includes the development of a Phoebe Scholar initiative that will provide students comprehensive support from the start of the program through graduation. This will include obtaining nursing license and employment through Phoebe for eligible students who live within proximity to a Phoebe hospital.

"The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the critical nurse staffing challenges faced by hospitals across the country, particularly in rural areas. We applaud Fort Valley State University for developing this 4-year nursing program to help address the problem in Georgia, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the university and support their team in this important endeavor," Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President and CEO.

The partnership will include initiatives designed to attract and recruit both rural and male students into the nursing program. Phoebe will provide subject matter experts to assist with the emersion of professional workforce development into the FVSU program curriculum including regulatory compliance, professionalism, quality, safety, patient experience and other practical skills that are essential for successful nursing.

"The shared mission of FVSU and Phoebe to create healthier communities makes this collaboration an important effort," said FVSU President Paul Jones. "This partnership will create transformative and life-changing experiences by supporting the workforce development needs of healthcare providers in regions throughout our state that need it most. We are grateful to Phoebe for their investment in our students, and we are especially excited to create a pipeline of BSN-prepared nurses for the Georgia workforce."

Photographed from L to R: FVSU Interim Provost Dr. Olufunke Fontenot; FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones; GA State Rep. Patty Bentley; GA State Sen. Freddie Sims; Phoebe VP of Education Dr. Tracy Suber; Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Brandi Lunneborg; Phoebe President and CEO Scott Steiner; GA State Rep. Calvin Smyre.

Plans for hiring an inaugural Program Director at FVSU are currently underway. The next step will be to secure approvals from the Georgia Board of Nursing and the accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The approval process will take approximately one year.

"At Phoebe, we are committed to helping our many education partners increase the number of health professionals they graduate, but our affiliation with Fort Valley State is unique," said Tracy Suber, EdD, RN, Phoebe Putney Health System Vice President of Education. "We're excited to partner to build a program from the ground up, and we look forward to developing the Phoebe Scholar Program through which we will support FVSU students who plan to work for Phoebe after earning their BSN."

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the program request to offer the four-year BSN degree at FVSU on Tuesday, August 10 during a board meeting.


Media Contact: Mechell Clark McCrary |

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