Butler and Cowley community colleges have agreed to partner on a nursing program, according to a news release from Cowley Thursday.
“When Cowley College administrators reviewed their latest state needs assessment, the report indicated a large number of openings in the nursing field,” the press release said. “Kansas labor data also ranked nursing seventh in high-demand occupations for Cowley’s service area.
“It is this shortage that prompted Cowley administration to begin brainstorming. While Cowley offers a pre-nursing track, there is no nursing program offered in Cowley or Sumner County to feed the nursing shortage in that region.”
Rather than take on the cumbersome expense of launching a new nursing school, Cowley said it looked an hour north to Butler Community College’s nursing program and pulled in the support of local hospitals, including William Newton Hospital in Winfield and SCK Medical Center in Arkansas City. The result, Cowley says, is a new School of Nursing at Cowley’s Winfield Campus for a fraction of the cost.
“This is a shared commitment to increase Butler’s nursing program by 16 students total, adding eight students per calendar year at Cowley College’s Winfield campus over the next two years,” said Dr. Tom Nevill, Butler Community College vice president of Academics.
The program is set to launch Fall 2023.
“This partnership made sense since each year, several of our pre-nursing students attend Butler in El Dorado to complete their Nursing degree,” said Dr. Michelle Schoon, Cowley College vice president of Academic Affairs. “This partnership brings classes to Cowley County, thus opening spots in the El Dorado program for Butler’s local students.”
William Newton Hospital and SCK Medical Center are both small critical access hospitals hit by the nursing shortage. Both facilities will supply clinical experiences and are strong supporters of the program. Meanwhile, Butler County’s healthcare system is at capacity for offering clinical experiences.
“We’re bringing high-quality healthcare training to the area for a fraction of the cost,” Schoon said. “Cowley College doesn’t have to build a new nursing program, and Butler doesn’t have to build additional facilities for expansion. Really both regions will benefit with students learning locally, which also increases their potential for success.”
Butler Community College’s nursing program ranks in the top five community colleges in Kansas for passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, NCLEX, for Associate Degree in Nursing, and in the top three for Practical Nursing from 2016 to 2020.
Butler Community College offers Allied Health, EMT, and AEMT training and has a partnership with the University of Kansas, allowing students to earn their associate degree and bachelor’s degree in nursing simultaneously.