Creating an educational pathway to address the dire need for nurses in the Commonwealth, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and Somerset Community College (SCC) announced an agreement yesterday that will create opportunities for students in the Manchester, Ky., area to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing at the EKU Manchester campus.
Governor Andy Beshear issued a state of emergency in December 2021 that allows the Kentucky Board of Nursing to approve requests for enrollment increases from schools that can accommodate more students and streamline the process for opening new campuses quickly to address the shortage. The Kentucky Nurses Association indicated that the state is operating anywhere from 12 percent to 20 percent short of the needed nursing volume.
“This partnership is a combination of what EKU and SCC do so well, we train workforces to serve the Eastern Kentucky region,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “As leaders in nursing education, we are prepared to address the immense nursing shortage across the state. EKU and SCC are committed to making sure we help provide a solution for this need through a world-class education offered right here in Kentucky.”
Starting in January 2023, SCC will admit up to 25 nursing students as a cohort to complete the Associate Degree in Nursing on the EKU Manchester campus. SCC obtained grant money that will enable the purchase of necessary equipment and make upgrades to classrooms at EKU Manchester, according to the Director of the University Center of Southern Kentucky, Trent Pool. The UCSK is a consortium of postsecondary educational institutions bringing educational opportunities close to home in southern Kentucky.
“Somerset Community College is excited to be working with Eastern Kentucky University in the much needed effort to bring more nurses to the region,” said SCC President and CEO Dr. Carey Castle. “We appreciate working with them in a partnership at their Manchester campus. Our focus continues to be helping people prepare for a new career in this area as quickly and efficiently as possible. The need for nursing and health science related careers is critical, especially in eastern Kentucky, and this effort will make a difference quickly to the people of this region.”
“Health care is a huge deal in the state of Kentucky,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “We have been working with the Governor's office to come up with a strategic way to get more nurses in the pipeline and out to serve communities.”
Students who complete the Associate’s degree from SCC will be able to head directly into the workforce in two years. They can then transition seamlessly to EKU’s Bachelor’s degree program, where they can earn the degree in as few as 12 months.
For more information on SCC admissions, please visit https://somerset.kctcs.edu/admissions/.
For more information on EKU’s nursing program, please visit https://nursing.eku.edu/.