HEALTH

Nursing program at U of U to expand

Apr 1, 2022, 12:08 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2022, 9:08 am
u of u campus, the school is expanding its nursing program....
Two people walk through the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is expanding its nursing program to address Utah’s statewide nursing shortage. Beginning this summer, the program will admit 60 students a semester. It plans to go from about 140 graduates each year to 180.

There are currently 2,500 vacancies for nurses across the state. Marla DeJong, dean of the College of Nursing, said she’s pleased the expansion will allow more students into its program.

“We receive far more well-qualified applicants to our program than we can accept, so we know the demand is there,” DeJong told KSL NewsRadio.

While other colleges and for-profit schools also train nurses in Utah, DeJong said the U of U program provides better preparation for nursing careers.

“We offer a baccalaureate education, which is important to preparing nurses for not only clinical care but leadership within nursing,” she said.

The Utah legislature will fund part of the expansion. But funds will also come from student tuition, university donors, and community partners. DeJong said those partners provide a critical part of nursing students’ education.

“Our students require many clinical hours to meet our requirements for graduation, so they spend a lot of time in hospitals and clinics and community health centers and other health care settings,” DeJong said.

Students who’ve already applied for the nursing program will be in the first additional group starting in May. Those who haven’t yet applied to the program can apply this fall for classes beginning next year.

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