The nursing program at Yavapai College (YC) is achieving high recognition throughout the county and state.
Equally significant, the program is helping meet a critical nursing shortage in Arizona hospitals. As recently as January, Arizona ranked among the country’s 10 worst states in terms of hospitals having critical staffing issues, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Nursing program recognition springs from:
• Reaccreditation of the YC associate of nursing program.
• Growth of nursing student scholarships in the YC foundation to more than $2.5 million.
• Continuing increase of doctoral and other graduate degrees among faculty.
• Dec. 10 mid-year pinning and graduation of 39 student nurses.
Dr. Marylou Mercado, YC Nursing Program Director, said nursing is taught on two campuses — one in Prescott with 129 students and one in the Verde Valley with 77 students. Collectively, the faculty includes 13 full time, three adjunct and one part-time member. Faculty share teaching responsibilities and travel from campus to campus.
Nursing program content is the same at each campus.“It is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing and accredited by the ACEN,” Mercado said.
Lisa Rhine, president of Yavapai College, said, “YC strives to provide
an extraordinary training program to aspiring nurses. I am proud of the impact our nursing students have. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many things changed, these students persevered to complete their education and reach their goals.”
Yavapai County Community Health Services Director Leslie Horton also praised the program. “We are fortunate to have a high- quality nursing program here in Yavapai County. Because of strains on health care caused by the pandemic, and the shortage of health care workers nationally, it is more important than ever to have a quality nursing program that educates and equips local residents who want nursing degrees.”
She added, “Nurses are imperative to the future of Yavapai County. Thanks to Yavapai College and its nursing program, we are able to develop, educate and employ nurses locally who sustained health care during the pandemic — and we hope for years to come.”
Demand for nurses increasing
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates employment prospects for nurses will increase, especially as the current workforce retires. Demand for nurses will likely grow by at least 7% annually — higher than growth for most other professions.
Presently, the YC program requires
24 months — sequential semesters excluding summer months. The program starts in fall and spring. Students must complete 28 credit hours of prerequisite and co-requisite courses and then earn 40.5 credits of nursing program core courses. Completion of such work leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing.
The program is accepting 50 new students each spring and fall semester. Mercado emphasized success rates for employment had been exceptional: “In 2020, our graduating employment placement was 90%.”