After receiving two additional approvals this week, Salina Area Technical College will offer a Practical Nursing program to up to 40 students starting in the fall of 2018.
Final approval to launch the program came this week; the Kansas State Board of Nursing approved the plan on Wednesday, and the college was informed Friday that the Higher Learning Commission had approved it also. The program was previously approved by the Kansas Board of Regents on November 15.
Plans for starting nursing programs at Salina Tech started not long after Greg Nichols became president of the college in July of 2016; the previous month, Brown-Mackie College in Salina announced it was shutting down. Nichols reached out to stakeholders within the healthcare community to gauge the support for nursing in Salina. The college formed an advisory committee comprised of nursing and healthcare leaders to guide the discussion of nursing education.
“There is always a need for nurses, and Brown-Mackie had been graduating around 60 new nurses each year,” Nichols said. “Part of our mission is to meet the employment needs of the region, and there was definitely going to be an even greater need going forward.”
In May of 2017, the college hired Becky Claus as its first Director of Nursing, and she set about building a curriculum for the program and gaining the approval of the various agencies that oversee higher education in general and nursing education in particular. Claus had been Director of Nursing at Manhattan Area Technical College for 10 years before coming to Salina Tech.
The college started accepting applications for the program in November, and had 23 as of Thursday. To be accepted into the program, students must first complete 14 hours of prerequisite classes: Intermediate or College Algebra, Medical Terminology, Human Development and Anatomy and Physiology.
All of those classes are offered at Salina Tech during the spring semester, which starts on Jan. 8.
Including a semester of prerequisites, the program will take three semesters to complete. The college’s Board of Trustees has not yet approved the tuition rate, but total cost of the program is expected to be in the $13,000 to $14,000 range.
“That we were able to go from an idea to a fully developed program in just 16 months is a testament to the hard work Becky and many others here have put into making this a reality,” Nichols said. “I would like to thank our Board of trustees, who believed in the vision set forth by our nursing advisory board. Without these great community resources, none of this would be possible. Now that KBOR, KSBN, HLC have approved, we are able to focus on having the most quality nursing program possible.”
Claus is already working on the college’s next step forward; the college plans to offer a two-year Registered Nurse program starting in the fall of 2019.