An online nursing school with on-site clinical training at a long-term care facility and other local health care facilities recently opened in southwest Colorado Springs.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Aug. 13 at Cheyenne Mountain Center, 835 Tenderfoot Hill Road. It is the first location in Colorado for Nightingale College, a private, for-profit school headquartered in Salt Lake City.

The school’s “innovative Dedicated Distance Cohort delivery model focuses on developing the ‘homegrown’ nursing workforce,” which is “available on-demand, well versed in meeting the health needs of the local community and properly aligned with the health care employers’ expectations,” Nightingale College’s President and CEO Mikhail Shneyder said in an email.

Organization officials cite the state’s nursing shortage and waiting lists at local schools as the reason for selecting Colorado Springs for its next site.

“Our partnership department does a very in-depth vetting process where locations will go,” said school spokeswoman Emily Crawford. “In Colorado we noticed there is a large nursing shortage in your state, and we look at the waitlist for schools from community colleges to large public universities.”

There are Nightingale College locations in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada.

Nightingale College’s fast-tracked bachelor of science degree in nursing differs from other programs in that it takes 32 months instead of 48 to complete, Crawford said.

Students can enroll for general education classes for the fall semester for a BSN, and in January for core nursing courses that include experiential learning at the local site, she said.

A solely online RN-to-BSN track also is available in a 12-month time frame.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has no waiting list for its RN-to-BSN courses and about five students waiting to get into its traditional BSN program, said spokesman Jared Verner.

Pikes Peak Community College has filled its 65 slots for the associate of nursing degree program for the fall semester. There’s still room in the RN-to-BSN program, which has accepted 11 students for fall and has a capacity of 24 openings, said spokeswoman Karen Kovaly.

To address the nursing shortage, PPCC is opening a new Health Education Center for allied health when classes start Aug. 26. Nursing and emergency medical tech programs will relocate to the campus at 1850 Cypress Semi Drive. It will also have Colorado’s first interdisciplinary simulation lab, which uses sophisticated mannequins to replicate real-world scenarios. New programs such as surgical tech and pharmacy tech also are coming online.

Based on state growth projections, nursing needs will be “a continued area of focus for our hospitals,” said Cary Vogrin, spokeswoman for UCHealth Memorial Hospital.

The hospital hires 90 to 100 new BSN graduates a year, with many coming from UCCS and Pikes Peak Community College, Vogrin said, as well as across the nation.

Nightingale College will work with more than 20 local partners, from nursing homes and long-term care facilities to hospital systems, to provide rotations and time for students to do experiential learning in acute-care, long-term care, psychiatric, obstetrics and pediatrics settings, Crawford said.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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