Nunez Community College proudly presented St. Bernard Parish Hospital CEO Kim Keene with the college’s Chancellor’s Vision Award during Convocation 2020.
Nunez Chancellor Dr. Tina Tinney cited Keene’s savvy guidance of SBPH, the hospital’s educational relationship with Nunez’s nursing program, and Keene’s invaluable membership on Nunez’s Foundation Board as factors that made Keene the obvious choice for this year’s Chancellor’s Vision Award. Additionally, St. Bernard Parish Hospital and its outstanding team of doctors and nurses have provided exceptional care to the St. Bernard community during one of the greatest public health crises in generations.
“Kim Keene has been an asset to our college and our parish for years now. But her leadership has never been more necessary and more appreciated than during this pandemic,” said Dr. Tinney. “The role SBPH plays for our nursing students is nothing short of essential, and Kim has been a major part of that relationship. As a Foundation Board member, she’s one of our most visible and vocal advocates in St. Bernard and beyond. She’s able to access circles of influence that benefit our students and our programs in immediate, tangible ways not only for our college but for our community.”
Keene said the recognition from Nunez, and a fellow woman executive in Dr. Tinney affirmed that SBPH is accomplishing its mission in the community.
“I’m a registered nurse, so to be given the Chancellor’s Vision Award for healthcare in St. Bernard Parish is really touching,” said Keene. “Dr. Tinney and I work very well together to provide what the community needs as far as education and workforce development. To be recognized is heartwarming and I’m very proud to receive this award.”
Keene went on to say that providing both direction and job opportunities to students is part of SBPH’s mission in the best of times. But during the COVID-19 era, while the country is experiencing a nursing shortage, the relationship has taken on even greater significance.
Nunez nursing students regularly work instructional clinical rotations at SBPH to gain on-the-job experience under the supervision of experienced doctors and nurses. Many Nunez nursing students have stepped up to full employment at SBPH through the years.
“Our hope is that every single nursing student that comes through decides they want to work here in St. Bernard. I meet all the nursing students, and many of our employees have come from Nunez,” said Keene. “2020 is the year of the nurse and COVID has taught us how much we need nurses.”
In addition to its Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs, Nunez offers a robust variety of healthcare programs including EMT & Paramedic, Medical Coding & Billing, and Patient Care Technician (EKG Technician, Phlebotomy, etc.).
Some Allied Health programs offered via Nunez and its partners at CareerStep, such as EKG, Hemodialysis, and Contact Tracing, can be completed online in less than two months. Industry-based credentials are also available in fields such as pharmacy technicians, dental assistants, and veterinary assistants.
Beyond the transactional synergy between SBPH and Nunez, both Keene and Dr. Tinney have acknowledged the progressive benefit of having two women leading essential St. Bernard Parish institutions.
“Having two very educated women in the parish working to provide healthcare and educational opportunities is a blessing. Tina and I work
hard and take calls day and night to lead two important pieces of what makes this parish run,” said Keene. “She increased enrollment and started many new programs. The SBPH team, along with Ochsner Health, was able to turn the hospital around when it approaching bankruptcy. St. Bernard would not look the same if it did not have a thriving hospital and college.”