The Vehbi Koç Foundation established a special nursing fund in 1974 with the aim to support the improvement of nursing services in Turkey. The primary aim in establishing the fund was to contribute to the training of nurses by providing them with the required ethical values, knowledge, skills, and competencies for the nursing profession.
In order to ensure this fund is used effectively, representatives from the Turkish Nursing Association, directors of higher educational institutions for nursing, and representatives from the Ministry of Health gathered to establish the Nursing Committee under the presidency of the Honorable Semahat Arsel. The committee provided support for materials and resources to several nursing schools throughout the country. Scholarships were granted to students and education providers, and many academic activities were supported.
In 1979, the Vehbi Koç Foundation organized the first Intensive Care Nursing Course in Istanbul in cooperation with the Admiral Bristol Hospital and Houston – Methodist Hospital. In order to meet the educational demands of both educators and nurses, the Semahat Arsel Nursing Education and Research Center (SANERC) was eventually founded under the American Hospital in 1992.
Alongside the Intensive Care Nursing Course and the first Basic Life Support Course (started in 1990 under the partnership of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, the Admiral Bristol Hospital, the Houston – Methodist Hospital, and the Ministry of Health), SANERC started offering the Emergency Care Nursing Course in 1994 and the Newborn Intensive Care Nursing Course in 1997. Moreover, nurses requested other short-term training programs and symposiums which were held in clinical areas. Nurses who were successful in these programs were given the opportunity to go abroad on scholarships and build on their experience. In addition, eight nursing guides for the professional development of nurses have been published.
In 2003, the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKF) Nursing Research Fund was established and began providing funds to nurse researchers. This program has lended support to 68 projects since that time.
In 2004, SANERC joined together with the Koç University School of Nursing, allowing educational activities to increase thanks to an expanded staff. In the same year, SANERC started to publish its periodical titled the Journal of Education and Research in Nursing.
In 2010, SANERC was accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association which aims to achieve excellence in nursing and healthcare through the accreditation of training centers, and its accreditation certificate was renewed in 2015 and after that in 2018.
SANERC is the only ANCC accredited center which offers continuing education programs in nursing in Turkey and the surrounding region. SANERC, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018 and published a book named ‘’SANERC: Hemşireliğe Adanan 25 Yıl’’ online. SANERC has provided training to more than 10,000 nurses. Beside its short term courses, SANERC launched the Stoma and Wound Care Nursing and Intensive Care Nursing courses, which have been approved by the Ministry of Health.