SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield college is working to address a national nurse shortage locally.
Cox College will begin offering nursing school at night and on the weekends in the Spring of 2018. Cox administrative leaders hope the new program will help parents and those with a full-time job pursue their Associate of Science in Nursing( ASN).
It’s the first program of its kind in the area and it aims at, slowly but surely, providing more opportunities for current and prospective students to graduate and fulfill vacancies at area hospitals.
“Nurses are retiring because they are boomers. And then they become patients that need care,” said Celeste Cramer, Assistant Director of Recruitment and Retention at CoxHealth.
Cramer says hiring new nurses has proven to be quite a challenge for health systems across the nation.
“The nurse shortage is nothing new,” she said. “It’s been going on for quite a while and we don’t anticipate filling all of our positions anytime soon.”
In 2016, CoxHealth hired more than 500 nurses, but there are still 300 job openings.
“Even if our local hospitals hired every single nurse that graduated from our local colleges, we still wouldn’t have enough,” Cramer said. “There aren’t enough programs to get students through.”
So, CoxCollege came up with their own solution a nursing program with classes at night and on the weekends.
“There’s really not any programs like this in the southwest Missouri region,” said Amy Townsend, the Chair of the Undergraduate Nursing Program at Cox College. “So many students who come to us are non-traditional students, meaning they have to work and they have to take care of their families.”
Townsend says students won’t have to give up their full-time jobs but they can still further their careers.
Cramer says the program helps create and keep jobs within the community.
“It’s growing talent locally, so we aren’t having to recruit nurses from other states,” she said.
“We’re so glad that we are able to reach students in this unique way and help them reach their dreams,” said Townsend.
The college will accept 20 to 25 students for the four-semester program, students have the option of using federal financial aid, grants, and scholarships. The deadline to submit applications is September 1.