published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Nursing program at Cleveland State Community College in high demand

Olivia Ford checks the range of motion in classmate Jean Sneed's legs during class at Cleveland State Community College.
Olivia Ford checks the range of motion in classmate Jean Sneed's legs during class at Cleveland State Community College.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

BY THE NUMBERS


• 51: Number of students admitted

• 120: Number of applications received

• 150: Number of people who attended information sessions

Source: Cleveland State Community College

The nursing program at Cleveland State Community College faced such high demand, the school decided to offer an evening program — which also filled up.

The college received about 120 applications for the program’s 40 slots. At the end, though, 51 students were accepted because of the demand and number of qualified students. More than 150 people showed up for three information sessions.

“We started talking about this back in the fall 2008. There’s an increasing demand for health care workers; us baby boomers are putting in increasing demands in health care system,” Jerry Faulkner, vice president for academic affairs at Cleveland State, said with a chuckle.

The nursing program, which includes clinical hands-on experience and lab hours, has a capacity of 85, Faulkner has said, which the college easily has reached in the last several years.

The total cost for both day and evening programs is $7,326, or $111 per credit hour.

Joshua Pratt is 25, has a full-time job, is married and has a 2-year-old boy at home, so enrolling in a flexible nursing program was a must.

He is a first-year student in the evening program, which requires students to go to class once a week from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and four to six hours another day for skills/clinical lab. The rest can be taken online.

“[Evening students] will gain the same knowledge and experience as our day program equivalents, but we get to do it at a pace that is conducive to an adult, working student’s schedule,” he said.

He now works double shifts Saturday and Sunday as a certified nurse’s aide to keep his evenings open for school and his days for his son, he said.

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The other difference between the day and evening nursing programs is that the evening program runs six semesters, including summers, said Nancy Thomas, associate professor of nursing and evening coordinator at Cleveland State. The day program only runs fall and spring semesters, skipping summers.

Most students in the program work full- or part-time jobs and have families, she said, and basically are those who aren’t able to attend full time during the day.

Pratt was attracted to nursing because of the career options and almost endless possibilities with regard to specialties and furthering education, he said. His long-term goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and going to Cleveland State is just the first step, he said.

“I have a great compassion for helping others and I enjoy working with my hands,” he said. “Being able to see the result of my labors is important to my sense of achievement.”

Pratt is not alone, Thomas said.

“I think people see [nursing] as an economically stable option with a lot of potential for career advancement,” she said.

The college graduates 50 to 60 nurses a year, according to school officials.

The next group of students for the evening program will be admitted in January 2014, when the current class is expected to finish, Thomas said.

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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