FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — With a shortage of health care workers across Arkansas, UAMS is adding a program to fast-track nursing students.
The 15-month concept-based Bachelor of Science in nursing has been approved by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. It will allow students to become nurses faster than typical nursing programs.
This is a program for people who already have a degree. UAMS Dean and professor of nursing, Patricia Cowan says this program will be great for people who are ready to quickly join the workforce as a nurse.
“We anticipate the need will be there for an extended period of time. I said stable income, high demand, big satisfaction in terms of care that you receive,” she said.
Cowan says the need for nurses isn’t new, but Covid-19 has added to the need. She says the ratio of patients a nurse would take care of in a hospital has changed.
“Where I might do six to seven to eight patients without Covid. If I’m taking care of patients that are covid positive, I’m not going to be taking care of 6 or seven patients because remember I’ll have to totally dawn PPE and go on out, so I might only be able to take care of one or two,” she said.
UAMS originally hoped to start offering the program this summer but because of the pandemic and needing a skills lab, they have moved the start date to May of 2022.
The nursing program plans to take on 24 students in the first class, so they get specialized attention from their professors.
While the program has been approved by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees, the program still needs approval from the Arkansas Higher Education Board and the State Board of Nursing.