South Carolina Colleges Say Nurse Training Programs Are Full, New Nursing School May Open

(WSPA) An Upstate university got one step closer Thursday to starting a nursing school. 7 On Your Side found out other local colleges say there’s a demand for more nurse training in the Upstate.

Anderson University received approval today from the South Carolina Board of Nursing to begin a nursing school. The university still needs the approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Other colleges tell 7 On Your Side there is a big demand for nurse training. Christi Corder just started doing clinical rounds in her second semester at Tri-County Technical College. Corder says, “You get a patient each week, and you have to make a care plan for them.” 

It’s a big step toward becoming a nurse, but she already faced a major hurdle, just getting in to nursing school.

Nursing instructor Cathy Ford says, “Our program is going to remain ever popular.” Ford says there’s never an empty seat at the nursing school, and sometimes qualified applicants have to wait to get in to the program.

Other colleges recognize the need to train more nurses. Anderson University spokesman Barry Ray says, “We’ve seen an increased demand on the part of prospective students.”

A nursing school is already under construction at Anderson University, and the school is working to get its final accreditation to open in the fall. Ray says, “We certainly are aware of the demand in the marketplace for nurses, we’re aware of what the trends, the prospective trends are.”

The American Nurses Association estimates from 2008 to 2018, nursing will grow by nearly 600,000 jobs. The demand for nurses is on the rise because of the aging population. At the same time, ANA says the nursing shortage is largely due to many experienced nurses retiring.

And that impacts everyone’s health care. Ford says, “That is why there is a big push, not only in the state, but in the country to increase nursing school enrollment, increase nursing graduation.”

So once Corder passes that final test to become a nurse, she shouldn’t have to worry much about the next test, finding a job.

7 On Your Side also checked in with Clemson University. The university says its nursing classes are also full, and the undergraduate nursing program is only able to accept about 15 to 20% of the students who apply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for registered nurses is more than $65,000 a year.