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CWC officials expect nursing enrollment to double
Thirty-eight Central Wyoming College students received their nursing pins during the 29th annual ceremony Thursday in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theater. Above, Janelle Norton wiped a tear from her cheek after receiving her pin. Photos by Wayne Nicholls

CWC officials expect nursing enrollment to double in the coming years

May 10, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The nursing program at Central Wyoming College is expected to double in the coming years because of the completion of the Health/Science Center on campus.

CWC officials say the school is committed to 40 nursing students this fall, up from 32 previously, and they anticipate enrollment to reach 80 over time.

"We have plans for program expansion," human resources director Jennifer Rey told the CWC Board of Trustees during a special budget meeting May 7.

The college hired one new nursing faculty member this school year, and Jason Wood, CWC's executive vice president for student and academic services, said the school likely will need to take on more clinical instructors in the future.

"We're considering several options for the nursing program that will require additional (faculty)," he said.

One idea is to create a second "entry point" for nursing students during the year, he explained. Currently, future nurses attend classes in the fall and spring for two years, but he said administrators are exploring the potential for summer classes as well.

"Nursing students could start in January and perhaps (take classes) year round and finish on an accelerated path," Wood said.

He also is looking into a "night cohort" of nurses who could take classes from midnight to 6 a.m. Wood pointed out that more classroom space could be utilized if lessons were taught then, and night nursing students would be available to assist at area hospitals during the evening hours as well.

"We (would) maximize the facilities we have and help in the community in key times when (nurses) are needed in hospitals," Wood said, adding that these options are still under consideration and won't be implemented this fall.

Gradual hires

CWC president Jo Anne McFarland said the school likely will hire additional nursing instructors on a gradual basis.

"We simply don't want that many new faculty members all at once," she said.

The college also is tracking state-funded nursing faculty positions that are being cut from programs throughout the state, McFarland said. As those employees are let go, she said CWC could recruit them, along with their state funding, to positions in Riverton.

Wood pointed out that the nursing instructor who was hired this year had recently been laid off from another program in the state.

"We'd like to be able to do that every time," he said.