Jul. 24—Somerset Community College is giving those in McCreary County and Clay County looking to get an associate nursing degree a chance to learn a little closer to home.
SCC announced this week that it was expanding its associate nursing degree program to two campuses in those areas — beyond its current campuses — starting programs in Whitley City and Manchester.
The McCreary County Center will renovate a 5,000 square foot space on the second floor of it's Whitley City building to become an "innovative learning center for nursing," according to a press release put out by SCC.
The space will have a skills lab with six hospital beds and manikins, a "dedicated laboratory with state-of-the-art patient simulators," meeting areas, offices and storage.
The project should be completed by late fall.
Additionally, SCC will partner with Eastern Kentucky University to bring the nursing program to EKU's Manchester campus.
Both programs are planned to be open by spring of 2022.
Officials said the expansion was due to the nursing shortage seen both regionally and across the state.
In fact, there seems to be a nursing shortage across the entire United States, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting the country will need 1.1 million more nurses by 2022.
The programs at both locations will begin with a group of 25 students. Officials said they hope to expand those programs in the future.
"We are excited to move forward developing these expansions and understand the importance of nursing education," said Nancy Powell, dean for health sciences. "We are grateful that more students can attend nursing schools and further their degrees in McCreary County and Eastern Kentucky."
"This is a truly exciting time for the College, the McCreary Center and our expansion into the community in Manchester," said Carey Castle, SCC president and chief executive officer. "There has been considerable interest in expanding this program to these areas. We look forward to January when we will welcome our new nursing students and faculty to these centers."
According to SCC, students can complete the nursing program in about two years for less than $10,000, which is around half the cost of other programs in the area.
SCC also has a number of partnerships with surrounding universities so students can continue on to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing after SCC's program.