Kennewick, Prosser Hospitals Join Nursing Partnership

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

By Melissa O’Neil Perdue, WSU Tri-Cities

Kennewick, Prosser hospitals join nursing partnership Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 By Melissa O’Neil Perdue, WSU Tri-Cities

Kennewick General Hospital and Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation have joined the Washington State University Tri-Cities Nursing Partnership with donations that will help create a state-of-the-art teaching facility for the WSU College of Nursing program.

About seven weeks ago, WSU Tri-Cities announced $2.9 million in contributions from regional healthcare agencies toward renovating a vacant commercial building at 1268 Lee Blvd., Richland. Today (Jan. 25), Kennewick General Hospital announced a $150,000 pledge and Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation committed $20,000 toward the project.

“Kennewick General Hospital is solidly committed to delivering high-quality healthcare services in the Tri-Cities,” said Brenda Atencio, assistant chief nursing officer at the hospital. “Highly skilled and supportive nursing care is at the heart of that, and that foundation is built on an excellent nursing education.

“KGH is pleased to partner in support of WSU’s effort to improve the nursing education facilities to provide an optimal place to prepare new nurses for successful careers in healthcare,” said Atencio, who has strong connections to WSU Tri-Cities: she earned her master’s degree in nursing and nursing administration at WSU Tri-Cities and has served as an instructor.

On Nov. 30, 2012, leaders from Group Health Cooperative, Lourdes Health Network, Kadlec Health System and Lampson International announced a regional partnership for the $4.4 million project. Kadlec offered a $1-per-year lease for 20 years, with an additional 10-year extension for the 10,000-square-foot facility. This lease, valued at $2.4 million, was approved this morning by the WSU Board of Regents.

A total of $980,000 was needed for high-tech equipment, especially in the simulation lab. About $280,000 remains to be raised. Contributions for the equipment include:

  • Kadlec Health System: $250,000
  • Lourdes Health Network: $150,000
  • Kennewick General Hospital: $150,000
  • Group Health Cooperative: $75,000
  • Lampson International: $50,000
  • Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation: $20,000

In addition, WSU President Elson S. Floyd has committed $1 million toward the construction cost after WSU Tri-Cities raises the balance of the amount needed.

Construction on the former retail space is expected to start in April and be complete in December, with nursing classes held there starting in January 2014.

Through WSU Tri-Cities, students can earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN), the Master of Nursing (MN) in Advanced Population Health, and Post-Master’s Certificates.

The nursing program at WSU Tri-Cities is quite competitive, with more than 120 students applying for no more than 48 openings each year, said Patricia Butterfield, dean of the WSU College of Nursing.

“From a high-fidelity simulation lab and larger practice lab, to improved classrooms and staff offices, the new building will be a catalyst for best preparing nurses across the region,” Butterfield said. “I am in awe of how you have all come together for the greater cause to help bring talented, educated and dedicated nurses into your community.”

The future location of the nursing program — in a large building formerly occupied by a Rite Aid store — puts WSU instructors and students closer to Columbia Basin College’s two-year nursing program with the intent of creating more synergy between the programs.

WSU Tri-Cities is located along the scenic Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Established in 1989 with upper division and graduate programs, WSU Tri-Cities expanded in 2007 to a four-year undergraduate campus offering 18 bachelor’s, 10 master’s and six doctoral degree programs. Learn about the most diverse campus in the WSU system at and about the WSU College of Nursing at

Kennewick General Hospital is a publicly owned hospital and the anchor facility of Kennewick Public Hospital District. KGH has more than 280 medical staff throughout the Tri-Cities, including practices and services at its Medical Mall, urgent care and walk-in clinics and a network of physician offices. A state-of-the-art hospital at Southridge is under construction for a 2014 opening; it will accommodate the medical needs of the area’s fast-growing population. See

Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation strives to improve the healthcare in the community by supporting PMH Medical Center’s activities and its mission through education, volunteerism and fundraising. PMH Medical Center is a full-service, community based, nonprofit medical center dedicated to serving the needs of local residents. PMH Medical Center is a Level 4 Trauma Center with 25 licensed CAH beds. For more than 60 years, PMH has provided exceptional healthcare services and the latest in diagnostic and patient care technology to the residents of the Yakima Valley. See