High Enrollment Might Ease Nursing Shortages

 Victoria Fregoso reports, vfregoso@k2tv.com

 The number of students showing interest in Central Wyoming's Nursing Program is booming.
This is part of a growing trend that is being seen across the U-S and it's not only the number of applicants that's growing, the average age of those applying is getting younger.

 "Our average age of our nursing students was running around 28 to 29 years of age," said Kathy Wells, Director of the Nursing Program at Central Wyoming College. "I would say our average right now is more around the 24 to 25 year age."

The number of nurses in their 20's began dropping in the 1980's and didn't pick up again until 2009.
Nursing students in their first year of the program say they're interested because the field seems promising.

"There's a large shortage of nurses, so I think it's a good field you would go into, to actually have job security," said Renee Lawson, a student in her first year of the nursing program at Central Wyoming College.

After an estimated 900,000 nurses retire by the year 2016, health facilities across the nation expect to have a shortage of about 2 million nurses.
At Central Wyoming College, there is 100% job placement after students complete the nursing program, which is another reason why more people are attracted to the job.

"They can earn a really good wage, nice benefits, they have a lot of flexibility on facilities they can get a job, the types of nursing they can go into," said Wells.

About 75% of graduates from the nursing program stay in Fremont County, while the others find a job in other parts of Wyoming, or different states.
Renee Lawson says she will be part of the 75% that finds a job locally but likes knowing that the options and opportunities are out there.

"It's kind of exciting to know that you don't have to just be in one place all the time."

The Central Wyoming College Nursing program currently admits 40 students every fall semester, but with the opening of their Health and Science Center in 2013, they expect the number of students to grow by 50%.