CAPTION: Gov. Laura Kelly talks with FHSU President Tisa Mason and Hays Mayor Sandy Jacobs after a visit to Albertson and Stroup Halls.
BY CAYDEN SANDERS
The Fort Hays State University Nursing Program hosted Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday afternoon to showcase the advanced technology the nursing program offers to students. Kelly saw how the program has progressed the students into realistic situations that will translate to success in the Kansas workforce and the Covid-19 fight.
“I am glad that I got to tour the school’s nursing department, I haven’t got a chance to visit Fort Hays yet, but now that I did. I have learned a lot about how Fort Hays State is preparing their students.” Kelly said on the tour.
Kelly started her visit in Albertson Hall with the tour being led by Dr. Karmen Porter, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Jacque Jacobs, clinic coordinator of Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The tour had short briefings on rooms where Porter and Jacobs spoke about speech pathology and what the students do and learn. Kelly asked about the age ranges the students work with during the course of studies.
“The students work with all age ranges, but the age ranges they work the most are the toddlers and the older people,” Porter said. “Mainly the students will get to work with older people in the clinical trials but we try and get them to work with children.”
Kelly asked if the speech pathologist course through Fort Hays had more than a master’s degree and could go right into the workforce.
“We do have a master’s degree for this program and we are currently working on an online master’s degree program for students,” Porter said.
Kelly finalized her questions to the instructors and asked if students could be licensed for speech pathology in the state of Kansas.
“It is not a licensed position yet in the state of Kansas, but in other states it is. With our program we are going to meet the standards of other states as well as Kansas,” Porter said. “We are working on getting this program to be nationally certified, and hopefully be able to send these students out into rural Kansas and serve their communities.”
Kelly then made her way to Stroup Hall where she asked how Covid-19 has affected Fort Hays in local, national and international student attendance, and how Fort Hays is keeping a gradual trend of adding students to Fort Hays’ campus every year.
“In the access model, we think the affordability, and the delivery platforms that we connect to students along with our tremendous leadership in our programs have led us to see this growth within our university,” COHBS Dean Jeff Briggs Dean said. “We are serving all 105 counties of Kansas, with national success pulling students around the country.”
FHSU President, Dr. Tisa Mason, told Kelly that while international numbers have dipped slightly in the most recent recruiting cycle, FHSU’s international numbers remained steady during the heart of the pandemic.
Kelly said that she enjoyed the visit through Stroup Hall, getting to see the realistic hospital rooms and patients. Teachers in Stroup showed Kelly realistic dummies for any nursing situation – anything from intensive care, labor, respiratory, pelvic operations, and even live checkups with students.
Kelly finalized her meeting at Fort Hays with a small media debriefing. Kelly was asked about how worried she was with kids going back to school and the delta variant on the rise.
“I am very worried, I am paying very close attention to the state of Kansas and very much appreciate our educators willing to come back into the classroom and I am hoping that the general public and the education system will make the right decisions to protect the teachers and the students,” Kelly said.
Kelly ended her day saying how important a part FHSU plays in the health of the state of Kansas.
“Fort Hays State, Hays, and this region of Kansas is critically important and there are so many things that happen here that it is important to keep this population particularly healthy,” Kelly said. “As they contribute so much to the economy of Kansas, this area also feeds the nation and the world and so we need to keep our folks in this area healthy.”