SUU Nursing Works to Decrease Nursing Shortage in Utah

Published: May 16, 2022 | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU works to decrease nursing shortage in UtahIn honor of National Nurses Month, Southern Utah University’s Department of Nursing is celebrating the accomplishments of its students and the program’s dedication to decreasing the nursing shortage in Utah.

“The Healthcare Workforce Initiative needs to be met,” said Dr. Selwyn Layton, SUU Department of Nursing chair. “SUU Nursing understands that the nursing shortage in the state of Utah is real and is dedicated to do its part in filling this gap. We have a great nursing faculty team that has come together to address the issues at hand and has risen to meet the challenge.”

Established in 2004, SUU’s Nursing program graduates about 60 students per year from its pre-license program. Nearly half of Nursing graduates, 49%, work in southern Utah after becoming licensed registered nurses, and about 43% work somewhere in the Intermountain Healthcare system. About a third go on to earn a graduate degree.

SUU Nursing’s foundational program, the pre-license program, educates students who are just starting their careers and prepares them to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Historically, the pre-license program has accepted 30 students per semester. Starting in with the Fall 2022 semester, as part of Utah’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative, the program will be increasing enrollment by 33%, graduating an additional 20 nurses annually.

Between SUU’s Health Professionals to BSN program and the RN to BSN program, student admissions have increased 44% in the past three years.

The Health Professionals to BSN program gives students who have a health professional education and license/certification (i.e. LPN, Paramedic, Respiratory Therapy, Army Medic) the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree in a four-semester program. Students graduate prepared with their BSN and are qualified to take the NCLEX-RN. Combining graduates from this program with those from the pre-license program will result in approximately 100 new BSN-prepared nurses each year.

SUU also offers a completely online RN to BSN Program. This program is for students who have earned their associate degree and want to advance to a bachelor’s degree, which is now required by many hospitals to be able to move ahead in practice.

To further support the nursing workforce in Utah, SUU Nursing provides the opportunity for students to qualify to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) while in the program. This has made a significant difference, especially in long term care facilities. For example, this spring 25 students intend to take the NCLEX-PN and practice as LPN while they complete their RN education. In this way, SUU has and continues to support the need for Licensed Practical Nurses in our community.

SUU’s Nursing Department, with the support of Utah Senator Evan Vickers and local leaders, is committed to excellence in teaching, practice, and service as well as delivering meaningful instruction using state-of-the-art resources in order to help students grow as technically proficient nurses and increase the number of quality nurses throughout the state.

Tags: College of Health Sciences Nursing

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