TMC cancels PCC training contract

2013-10-18T15:48:00Z 2013-10-18T20:23:05Z TMC cancels PCC training contractBy Carol Ann Alaimo ARIZONA DAILY STAR Arizona Daily Star

Tucson Medical Center has canceled a training contract with Pima Community College in the wake of a recent sanction against PCC’s nursing program.

The sanction, imposed by the Arizona State Board of Nursing, played a part in the hospital’s decision, a TMC official said.

The program, in which the hospital pays the college to train TMC employees as nurses, has operated on and off for several years and was due to start up again in January.

PCC’s Governing Board recently approved a $310,000 training contract with TMC for next year. But on Friday, a hospital official said TMC reconsidered and decided not to proceed.

The Nursing Board sanction “was a contributing factor,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president for communications. But the main reason is the hospital’s nursing shortage has eased, she said.

Lou Albert, president of PCC’s west campus where most health programs are based, said PCC still has a positive relationship with the hospital.

“This will not have any impact on our relationship with TMC as a clinical partner for our regular nursing program,” he said.

The Nursing Board sanction, handed down in August, cited friction between PCC faculty members and Marty Mayhew, a registered nurse who oversees the college’s nursing and health programs.

The board faulted faculty, and Albert, Mayhew’s boss, for interfering with Mayhew’s decision-making as the head of nursing education.

The board said tensions in PCC’s nursing program had reached a point where student learning was compromised and patient safety put at risk.

PCC didn’t tell TMC about the Nursing Board’s findings, Albert said, adding the college wasn’t required to provide such notice.

In addition to the Nursing Board sanction, PCC also is hiring an outside investigator to probe union claims that Mayhew is a poor manager who solicited prescription painkillers from her subordinates. Mayhew says those allegations are false.

Strange said TMC employees who want to train as nurses at PCC can still do so, but they’ll have to pay for it themselves and apply for reimbursement.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

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