Nursing Professor Scales the Seven Summits to Raise Awareness
Dr. Patrick Hickey, a professor in the College of nursing, is only one mountain away from scaling all seven summits as he prepares to climb Mt. Everest this spring. If he succeeds, he'll be one of only about 85 people in the world to have climbed the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on each of the world's seven continents.
One of the primary reasons he's doing it is to call attention to the nursing shortage in South Carolina and nationwide. The SC Hospital Association estimates that 18 percent of the registered nurse jobs in the state are vacant, and the state has to recruit about 40 percent of its nurses from outside the state. There just aren't enough nurse educators to teach the student nurses. To make matters worse current faculty is beginning to retire and the low pay cut that nurse educators typically take to join the faculty makes it very difficult to recruit.
During Hickey's term as a professor he has noticed how many student nurses are working two or three jobs to pay their way through school, so the college has established the Summit Scholarship in honor of his climbing efforts. The goal at first was to raise $29,035, one dollar for every foot of Mt. Everest, however Hickey wants to surpass that original goal. Despite the overwhelming difficulty to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Hickey hopes that his success will draw attention to the state's shortage of nurses and ultimately doing something about it.
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