OGDEN -- In Utah, it can take up to two years for a student to be accepted into a college-level nursing program, a wait that often can discourage people from entering the field.
To combat this trend, a new college has opened to help more students become nurses in a timely manner.
Nightingale College School of Nursing, at 4155 Harrison Blvd., Suite 100 in the Executive Building at the Flying J. Plaza, is now open for campus tours and enrollment and is accepting applications for the semester that begins at the end of March.
The 13,000-square-foot college was founded on the best traditions of nursing and offers an advanced state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology and a modern, fully equipped skills training lab, said president and CEO Stephen Behunin.
"There is an average of only one seat for every five nursing student applicants at most colleges and universities, and the majority of prospective nursing students are placed on a waiting list," Behunin said.
Behunin said the delay can force students to put their lives on hold or move in a different direction while they are waiting for admission, and many potential nurses are lost and their nursing tuition is wasted.
"Some Utah schools receive as little as 600 applicants while other universities in Utah have as many as 4,000 applicants," Behunin said.
Dana Oaks, chief operating officer at Ogden Regional Medical Center, said the hospital is currently not experiencing an acute shortage of nurses, relative to the economy.
"This could change as our economy recovers and more nurses once again step back out of the workforce and, of course, as the baby boomers continue to age and need more nursing resources," Oaks said.
"We heartily support health care education in our community and welcome Nightingale, and all other educators who are training quality health care workers. The addition of their school will be a plus for the long-term need for nursing staff. We feel that having more training resources for nurses and other health care technicians in our area is of great benefit to the population we serve."
Current national trends show an aging population that will require more complex health care in the future, Behunin said. These trends indicate a growing shortage of registered nurses over the next 15 years.
The school will accept up to 50 students in each of three annual semesters, Behunin said. There will be 12 to 15 instructors and a total of approximately 30 staff and faculty members. Additionally, the school will accept licensed practical nurses into the registered nurse program.
Qualifications are determined by the Utah Board of Nursing. Nightingale College is designed for those students interested in a career in nursing who have completed prerequisite general courses in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, general psychology or human growth, chemistry, English and math.
Once a student is accepted into the program, the four semesters can be completed in as little as 16 months, Behunin said. An LPN can complete the RN program in eight months.
Nightingale College is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, a private, nonprofit independent accrediting agency. The school will apply for national accre-ditation with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission within six months from the first day of class.
Behunin said fees are very competitive with private colleges and public schools' out-of-state tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify. In addition, many employers offer benefits that cover the entire cost of education and offer long-term employment if the employee can be successfully admitted into a program.
To apply, call 801-689-2160 or go online at www.nightingalecollege.com.