October 15, 2005
Thomas Grass, Christine Lyshol, Mary Hasibar, Brett Hinkle, Vanessa McGhee, Jessica Frost, Sherity Kelly, Leanne Droke, Sandra Singer, and Rosa Mergenthal will begin courses that will span multiple specialty areas of nursing. The course work will include clinical sessions in major health care areas completed primarily in Ketchikan. The Ketchikan clinical sessions are made possible through cooperative agreements with a variety of local health care organizations.
Seven students are set to graduate in December from the first group of Ketchikan nursing students. Maureen Northway is the UAA instructor for the Ketchikan cohort. She teaches the nursing skills lab and clinical sessions, in Ketchikan and acts as liaison, exam proctor, clinical and video conference coordinator, advisor and mentor for the students locally.
Prior to admission, applicants must complete a minimum of courses in algebra, biology, and chemistry at the high school or college level along with completion of an UAA application, Nurse Entrance Test (NET) and three letters of reference. Additional coursework in areas of
chemistry and biology enhance a student's application. The students accepted in the Ketchikan group have taken many hours of course work and all have excelled in preparing for the next two years of nursing study.
UAA expanded its nursing program in 2004 to address the need for nurse graduates in the State of Alaska. In Alaska, 12 percent of nursing positions in health care facilities are vacant; in some remote facilities the vacancy rate for RNs is more than 30 percent and causes of the shortage are complex, but include the aging of the current workforce.
Projected demand in the industry for Alaska includes 220 additional nurses per year not including the existing vacancies. UAA graduates approximately 110 baccalaureate and 70 associate degree nursing students each year.
With a total of eleven sites including Fairbanks, Kodiak, Juneau, Ketchikan, Bethel, Kenai, Sitka, Homer, Mat Su, and Kotzebue, the UAA distance program will, in 2005, more than double the number of AAS nursing graduates in Alaska. Students throughout Alaska in the distance delivered nursing model take nursing classes via distance avenues including web-based instruction and video-conferences with lead faculty on the Anchorage campus. Local faculty teach the students in on-campus labs and clinical experiences.
Graduates of the AAS Program are prepared to take the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX) to become a Registered Nurse in Alaska. Graduates are educated to provide direct nursing care to individuals in inpatient settings and structured outpatient settings. The program provides students with a closely related mix of theory and clinical practice. Students gain clinical experience in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. The program requires a minimum of two years of full-time study.
The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus is a part of the University of Alaska statewide system and provides a wide variety of educational courses and programs both locally and to students in distance sites across the state. Many course offerings are available both locally and via distance avenues including web-based, audio conference and satellite. Through these courses, students can achieve certifications, associate, bachelor and master degrees.
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