To address a critical need for healthcare workers, the Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) will expand its Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree program to the SRTC Moultrie and Tifton locations in a move that could eventually double the number of nursing graduates the school produces annually. The first cohorts will begin in 2017; pending approval from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the College is already receiving applications. SRTC-Tifton will begin to offer the ASN – Generic Option spring semester of 2017 and SRTC-Moultrie will offer the LPN to ASN Bridge option fall semester of 2017. Students can enroll in core classes for both programs at both locations at this time.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, nationwide demand for Registered Nurses is expected to increase by 21 percent by the year 2025. According to the same study, Georgia is expected to create 101,400 nursing jobs over the same period while graduating only 94,700 registered nurses, resulting in a shortage of 6,700 qualified employees. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says factors for the shortage include too few nursing faculty, an aging nursing workforce, the aging baby boomer generation that requires more healthcare, and high nursing turnover rates, sometimes due to factors such as inadequate staffing.
"The expansion of the ASN program will have a significant impact on the shortage of skilled registered nurses not only in south Georgia but throughout the state. This expansion will immediately impact the healthcare quality and critical access in our communities," said Dr. Annie McElroy, Vice President for Academic Affairs at SRTC.
Students who enter the ASN program in Moultrie and Tifton will benefit from the state-of-the-art virtual hospital that will provide a comprehensive nursing experience where students can practice in a variety of settings, to include: pediatrics, operating room, medical-surgical, labor and delivery, intensive care unit, primary care, and others.
Tammy Bryant, RN, MSN, program chair for the ASN program, said the expansion means SRTC will have the opportunity to graduate 40 more registered nurses annually, with the eventual goal of the Moultrie and Tifton program's numbers matching the 52, on average, who currently graduate from the program at the Thomasville Campus each year and have a job placement rate of 96%. Four more full-time nursing faculty, two adjunct faculty, and support staff will also be added to support the expansion.
More than 87% of SRTC’s ASN graduates pass the NCLEX licensure exam on the first try over the past four years. SRTC’s experienced faculty works hard to maintain a low-cost, high-quality nursing program that supports students academically, professionally, and personally.
"Both Moultrie and Tifton have very strong medical systems. This, along with projected nursing shortages, makes this expansion critical for nursing education," McElroy said.
Those strong local ties will have a tremendous impact as the College works to establish a foundation for future success in both new cities. Colquitt Regional Medical Center will provide financial support for the ASN program as well as clinical and educational support for students in Moultrie, while Tift Regional Medical Center will serve as a clinical rotation site.
“Improving the education of our workforce is a priority for Colquitt Regional. Eighteen percent (18%) of our nursing staff is LPNs. We view this partnership with SRTC as a great opportunity to remove some of the barriers our employees experience when trying to further their education,” said Colquitt Regional CEO Jim Matney. “Our strategic plan includes several significant initiatives related to medical education, including the launch of the Georgia South Family Medicine Residency Program which seeks to train physicians. We are also working on partnerships with other institutions that would allow our RNs to pursue BSN degrees.”
SRTC offers over 155 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to www.southernregional.edu.
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