Nursing program

Instructor Maureen O’Malley, left, talks to students April Smith, center, and Marisa Ayala Cardenas in one of the simulation labs at the School of Nursing on campus at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. 

The Kodiak Outreach Center at Kodiak College will be offering a bachelor’s degree in nursing, starting Fall 2018. 

The Kodiak Outreach Site is going through a year-long change to transition its associate degree program to a baccalaureate degree program, due to more hospitals across Alaska and nationwide requiring nurses to have their BSN.

The transition was put into motion by the University of Alaska, Anchorage’s new School of Nursing Director Marianne Murray, as well as Jeffrey Jessee, dean of the College of Health and vice provost of Health Programs. 

These changes arrive in the wake of an impending nationwide nurse shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an estimated 1.3 million vacancies emerging for registered nurses between 2012 and 2022. By 2022, it’s estimated there will be a need for 3.44 million nurses nationwide. At the same time, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development predicts the customer base for health care will likely increase by more than 125 percent, as the number of over 65-year-olds in the state grows.

In an interview with Green and Gold News, Margaret Mete, the associate professor at UAA School of Nursing, Kodiak College said “They [Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center] wanted a baccalaureate program and they also wanted more graduates. They have these vacancies at the hospital they have to fill with travelers a lot of the time. It’s costly for them.”

To help fill the gap this school year, the Kodiak Outreach Site admitted a larger number of students than prior years and plans to graduate 10 nurses instead of the normal eight. The hope is that this will ease the community’s need for more nurses until the baccalaureate program gets underway next fall.

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