Aiken Tech launching new nursing center to tackle shortage
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The local nursing shortage isn’t new, but there are solutions to fix it.
A new 30,000-square-foot nursing building is in the works at Aiken Tech to train more nurses.
We spoke with Aiken Tech leaders about how this building will help. The college received more than $11 million from the Savannah River Site plutonium settlement, and they’re using it to fill a big hole in the community.
“We already knew that with the Baby Boomers, there was going to be a shortage of nursing. With South Carolina, we were slated to be the third in the nation. We knew that this was coming ahead of time,” said Hannah Williams, dean of nursing.
Across the two-state, hundreds of nursing jobs remain open. AU Health has more than 200 nursing jobs available, and Aiken County has around 160 open positions.
Filling them starts in the classroom.
“It just depends on the application cycle. We can turn away 60 to 80, sometimes 100 students who may apply,” she said.
And having the space to teach it.
Forest Mahan is the president of the university. He said, “Larger classrooms. Also, lab space and a simulation lab.”
The college is getting ready to add evening classes to its LPN to RN pathway program.
Williams said: “That will give us a 25% increase. We may gradually increase that to who knows... it could get up to 50%.”
And doubling their LPN program...
“We normally took 16 a semester or 32 a year. We’re looking now to start off and take 24 a semester or 48 a year so that we can meet that immediate need, and then once that building comes, we will reassess,” she said.
They’re still working on the plans and design, but the president hopes it stands as close to highway one as possible.
Aiken Tech hopes to begin construction at the beginning of 2024, with an 18-month build phase.
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