GOSHEN — There's a growing nursing shortage around the country. Soon, Goshen College is going to offer a new doctoral degree program.
This new program is going to help address that shortage by offering a doctor of nursing practice degree. Partnering with Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virgina.
Faculty from both schools will teach the online courses. This is the first doctoral degree program being offered by Goshen.
The co-director of the program says they've been thinking about this for two years.
Students like Jordan Alberda say they chose Goshen College for its flexible class schedule and support for students.
He says he's interested in getting a doctor of nursing practice degree or DNP.
"I like being able to help people in their time of need, I mean it's when they are most vulnerable. It's when they are most needy, I guess, and just being able to be there during that time is, I mean it just warms your heart, I guess,” he said.
The program will offer 10 online courses with at least one residency during the part-time option which is nearly two and a half years, and a full time option at 21 months.
Alberda will still be able to work fulltime, have a life, and earn an advanced degree.
Faculty members say someone with a DNP will be able to teach nursing but also work in a clinical setting as well.
"It will definitely help to address some of those needs. If we have more nursing faculty we can educate more nurses so it that regards we will have a positive effect on the nursing shortage,” said Ruth Stoltzfus, Co-Director for the DNP Program.
Stoltzfus says a doctoral degree isn't for everyone. For those students interested in improving their skills in patient safety, outcomes, and other services should consider enrolling.
"It's a very good, solid program for anybody interested in furthering their career. I mean it opens up so many options for your career, whether it be here in practice and research, it just widens your field immensely so,” said Alberda.
Classes will begin in January of 2018.
Goshen College isn't the only area school addressing the nursing shortage. Southwestern Michigan College is expanding its nursing and health education building in Dowagiac.
The college is launching a nearly $10-million initiative to more than double the size of the building, which expects to open for classes by the Fall of next year.