New nursing college offers opportunity for economic development

Published: Mar. 23, 2017 at 5:12 PM EDT
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Leaders from across Kentucky gathered in Perry County for the grand opening of a new nursing college on Thursday.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare partnered with Galen College of Nursing less than a year ago to open a branch of the college in Hazard.

“Some of ARH's staff and some of Galen's staff ran into each other at a meeting and started having some conversations about need for nurses, a need to educate more nurses and it blossomed into this,” said President and CEO of ARH Joe Grossman.

Many state and local leaders supported the new location and spoke at the opening. One of those leaders was Department for Local Government Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo, who spoke about what the new college could bring to the area.

“With the capacity of 40 nurses a year, if we graduate 228 nurses over five years, that means $11 million in salaries,” Dunahoo said.

President and CEO of Galen College of Nursing, Mark Vogt told WYMT the school graduates around 2,000 registered nurses every year.

“The only thing that we teach is nursing, so students start in nursing immediately. They're not taking a lot of general education courses at first and then starting the nursing program, they really get hands on education at a very early stage in their education process,” Vogt said.

Grossman said ARH has more than 100 traveling nurses and that the new school will eliminate the need for nurses coming from outside Eastern Kentucky.

“As we graduate more nurses through the Galen program or through the community college program, we will be able to employ those folks within this region and help the whole region out and really help get our people back to work and not bring people from outside to do jobs,” Grossman said.

Classes at the college will begin March 30th. Both Grossman and Vogt said they would eventually like to expand on the program.

If you are interested in applying for the program or learning more about Galen College of Nursing click