Chemistry perfect foundation URI nursing student finds

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Says new facility is needed to prepare workers for health care jobs

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 1, 2010 – University of Rhode Island nursing student Rodney Confident of Providence knows that without a solid foundation in chemistry, which is required of all nursing students at URI, he and his classmates would be less able to understand how the body reacts to medicine, the bio-chemical reactions produced by certain diseases and even allergic reactions.

But he said URI students and faculty in health care disciplines are at a crossroads. All rely heavily on chemistry as a foundation in their specific fields, and need expanded spaces and contemporary equipment. Without them, Rhode Island will be ill equipped to respond to the expanding and ever changing health care environment.

That’s why Confident, his fellow nursing students and thousands of others who rely on chemistry courses to complete their majors, are stressing the importance of bond referendum 2, which asks voters to approve $78 million for higher education, $61 million of that total for a modern chemistry building at URI.

“For example, nurses have to take pharmacology, which builds on chemistry. When we work with IVs, that’s derivative chemistry,” said Confident, who took five chemistry courses at URI.

The Center for Chemistry and Forensic Science will eliminate the cramped spaces in the current chemistry building, Pastore Hall, Confident said. “Sometimes we have to wait to use certain lab facilities.”

Confident said chemistry education at URI would also be transformed with a new facility.

“Right now, I think people feel disengaged in the old building because there are maintenance issues and capacity issues.”

Patients who have Confident at their bedside after he earns his bachelor’s degree from URI in the fall of 2011, will be lucky indeed. Not only will they be under the care of a nurse with a great chemistry background, they will also benefit from Confident’s background as a nationally certified pharmacy technician at Rite Aid Pharmacy. He works at the pharmacy when he is not in class or on his clinical nursing rotations. He has already done clinical work in geriatrics at Kent Hospital and medical-surgical nursing at Newport Hospital.

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URI nursing student Rodney Confident works with a patient at Kent Hospital. URI Photo by Joe Giblin.