NWACC Announces New Nursing Program

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NWACC Announces New Nursing Program

Images of Nursing Students Working

The NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) Health Professions is offering a new nursing program that can be completed in a year.

NWACC’s Dean of Health Professions, Mark Wallenmeyer, said the Practical Nursing (PN) program was created to meet the industry's needs in the Northwest Arkansas area and align with the state's plan for PN programs in high schools.

“We try to listen to our industry partners' needs and offer what programs we can use to better help the workforce in Northwest Arkansas,” said Dean Wallenmeyer. “This is one of the needs that we have heard from the community.  The practical nursing program will fill a necessity as the Northwest Arkansas population grows and the healthcare needs grow.”

The program will be flexible and will allow students to decide when they want to learn.

“It is done in a hybrid format. Students can set their hours when they actually want to come to class,” said Carla Boyd, NWACC’s director of nursing. “They must come to class a specific number of hours each week. They can choose what day and time and how long they want to come.”

With a practical nurse degree, nurses will monitor patients' health, such as checking their blood pressure, administering basic patient care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters, and providing for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress.

The program will offer six courses at the Benton County campus in the Center for Health Professions building, and students will have the opportunity to work with Mercy Hospital and Northwest Health.

“These hospitals are vital to the healthcare needs of northwest Arkansas,” said Dean Wallenmeyer. “NWACC has great working relationships with each. Ninety-five percent of the graduates from the NWACC RN program stay in this area and fill the needs of the hospitals here.”

High School students at Don Tyson School of Innovation at the Secondary Career Center will also be able to take the PN program courses as concurrent courses.

“NWACC has been working with the State Office of Skills Development to offer this practical nursing program at the high school level,” said Dean Wallenmeyer. “The high school program will only be offered initially at Don Tyson School of Innovation as part of NWACC’s Secondary Career Center.  The push is now for students at the high school level to graduate ready to enter the workforce.  This is one initiative that we are proud to be a part of with the State.”

The PN program is currently in candidacy for accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc., also known as ACEN.

Applications will be accepted from July 1 through July 31, 2024, and the program will start in the Spring of 2025. To apply, click here.