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CORY BYKNISH | Herald

GREENVILLE — Sharon Regional Medical Center and Thiel College are joining in a partnership to promote health-care careers among students and provide medical access for the school and surrounding community.

Officials from Thiel College in Greenville and Sharon Regional, affiliated with Steward Health Care, said the two organizations plan to cooperate on a variety of initiatives.

Joseph Hugar, Sharon Regional president and CEO, said the arrangement provides an opportunity for the medical center to expand its services, while allowing it to be “proactive” in recruiting those trained in medical fields — something that is becoming an issue with medical professionals continuing to retire.

“We are the largest employer in Mercer County at over 1,200 people, so we’re very fortunate to have a seasoned, tenured staff, and as folks plan their retirement, that will open some opportunities in the medical field across the whole spectrum,” Hugar said.

In a press release Monday, Thiel College President Susan Traverso said both entities would benefit from the arrangement.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to enlarge the health and wellness for students and the Greenville community,” she said. “Innovative collaborations are essential for a region’s growth, and this arrangement will enhance the quality of life for the entire region.”

Thiel and Sharon Regional are already working together, with the hospital providing a registered nurse to Thiel’s student health center starting this month.

Students from Thiel have been able to have internships at Sharon Regional in the past, but nothing formal or official was ever established before the new agreement, Hugar said.

The cooperation plan includes expanding those existing relationships, such as expanding Thiel’s student health center to a campus clinic in August. The clinic will service Thiel students, staff and faculty, as well as area residents.

Thiel students in majors such as health systems, or the speech language pathology and physician assistant majors that will begin enrollment in 2021, could benefit from the partnership, Hugar said.

“It allows the students to certainly try on different areas of health care, whether it’s in ICU, the cardio-vascular unit, or the emergency department,” he said. “We can also allow the staff to work in different areas such as physicians’ offices and practices and maternity health services, so it can give students a good idea of the opportunities for a nurse before settling into a career.”

Thiel and Sharon Regional officials also plan to develop weekly education seminars, which Hugar said could cover a range of topics including cardiac needs, orthopedic needs and signs and symptoms of stroke.

“I think it’ll bring a lot of educational support to the community, so that people can make informed decisions,” he said.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.

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