The Pikeville City Commission took action Monday which could help pave the way for a nursing training facility in the city to help combat a shortage of nurses at Pikeville Medical Center.

At its regular meeting Monday, the Pikeville City Commission approved a resolution authorizing the submittal of a grant application with the Appalachian Regional Commission for an Area Development Grant in the amount of $500,000. The grant funds, if awarded, will be used by Pikeville Medical Center for the development of a “multidisciplinary medical laboratory and education center” inside of PMC’s building on Summit Drive in Pikeville.

Pikeville City Manager Philip Elswick said the city will be the lead applicant in the process and the grant funds will be transferred to Pikeville Medical Center.

“The city is just a conduit for the money,” Elswick said.

Elswick said PMC approached the city about the grant application in order to combat a nursing shortage the hospital is currently experiencing.

“This is a collaborative effort between the city and the hospital,” Elswick said. “We’re proud to work with the hospital. Pikeville Medical Center has a nursing shortage and we’re glad to be able to help with that.”

Pikeville Medical Center CEO Donovan Blackburn told the News-Express in a statement that the training facility will give the hospital a “stronger workforce” while also addressing a shortage of nurses.

“We are attacking the shortage for clinical healthcare providers,” Blackburn said. “We, like the rest of the country, need nurses and are prepared to produce viable clinical healthcare leaders for PMC and potentially other healthcare educational organizations.

“Our center will include a complete information technology system with 35 computers, a video tele-classroom for educational classes and complete simulation for clinical training and practice,” Blackburn said.

As part of the application, PMC will contribute $171,802 in matching funds.

“This development will once again place the City of Pikeville and Pikeville Medical Center in the center of regional progress,” Blackburn said.

At a previous city commission meeting, Pikeville Medical Center representatives said they hope the new training facility will allow local colleges and universities to assign nursing students to PMC’s facility for clinical training.

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