Nightingale College bringing nursing training to Cedar City

Nightingale College nursing student John Austin takes part in a practical training session at Seasons Health and Rehabilitation, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY Nightingale College is bringing its distance-learning nursing programs to Cedar City, institution officials announced recently.

“It’s all very hands-on, very situational,” said Nightingale nursing student John Austin, who is taking courses to become a registered nurse, all while working full-time and with a wife and a young child at home. Austin, who lives in St. George, says he likes the flexibility Nightingale’s program offers. “I’ve done my first year and loved it so far,” he said.

Nightingale College nursing student John Austin takes part in a role-play exercise with instructor Beth Messinger at Seasons Health and Rehabilitation, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

On a recent Friday morning at Seasons Health and Rehabilitation facility in St. George, Austin passed off a gastrointestinal examination, in which he needed to evaluate a “patient” (actually a lifelike mannequin) while instructor Beth Messinger verbally played the role of the patient while evaluating Austin’s performance.

“We bring the education to the students,” lead faculty instructor Lisa Kogan said.

Kogan said Nightingale College employs a hybrid model that allows students to complete all their instructional work online and their clinical training at local health care facilities. The fully accredited college, which started in 2010 and is based in Ogden, has a range of programs available, including associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

Kogan said it’s not uncommon for the college’s students to be concurrently employed at the hospitals or clinics where they are being trained.

“This facilitates great partnerships and future employment opportunities,” she noted.

Nightingale College lead faculty member Lisa Kogan explains the college’s recent plans to expand into the Cedar City / Iron County area. St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We are excited to be entering into the Cedar City area. We know that the health of the community will be greatly improved by an increased number of registered nurses,” said Jonathan Tanner, who is Nightingale’s vice president of partnerships and business development.

Tanner said Nightingale’s  goal is to help solve nursing shortages in rural areas.

“Where nurses are educated is where they tend to stay and work,” he said. “The problem is, most nursing schools are located in urban areas.”

Cedar City’s high demand and low supply of nurses is a common problem shared by many other rural communities: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a shortage of over 1 million nurses nationwide.

“Although Cedar City is home to Southern Utah University and an hour away from Dixie State University, nursing programs are still in demand and nursing college acceptance remains competitive, especially in rural communities,” states a written media announcement regarding Nightingale’s expansion into the Cedar City area.

“With thriving Intermountain hospitals in the area and an upward population trend in the Cedar City area, the demand for nurses and nursing education continues to rise,” the statement added.

Tanner said Nightingale has already enrolled five students in the Cedar City area for its January program start, with room remaining for up to about five more. After four months of instructional work their first semester, the initial Cedar City group will be ready for hands-on instruction starting in May, he said.

Nightingale College operates on a calendar of three four-month semesters per year, with program starts occurring each January, May, and September.

In addition to St. George and now Cedar City, Nightingale College has several other partnership locations throughout Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Called “Dedicated Distance Cohorts,” or DDCs, the locations allow students to conduct practical training and receive instruction from trained faculty at partner facilities.

“We don’t open new DDCs until we have students ready to learn in those communities.” Kogan said.

Nightingale’s success and growth in the St. George area in recent years is what led college officials to move toward expanding into the Cedar City area, Tanner added.

For more information about Nightingale College and its programs, click here.


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