Hope it helps: New nursing lab will help FVTC meet target growth | thenorthwestern.com | Oshkosh Northwestern
A new nursing lab at Fox Valley Technical College's Riverside campus, slated for construction over the winter break, will hopefully beef up enrollment, according to the campus director.
Melissa Kohn said the extra 896 square-foot lab would help the campus meet its target growth of 20 percent between this year and the next for each of its certified nursing assistant and medical assistant programs.
The $90,000 project will begin after Dec. 19 and should finish by the third week in January, Kohn said. The completed lab will mirror the existing one currently shared by three different nursing programs.
"All of those programs have gone through expansions on their own, so they are right on top of each other. One class will have to leave a half hour early so the other could start," said Zoe Cujak, associate dean for business, health and service.
The new lab will specifically serve the CNA and Emergency Medical Service program, which currently doesn't have a place on campus to store equipment.
"From a scheduling perspective, you're compromised by who can get into the classes. So having extra space provides opportunities for all classes to use the space," said CNA instructor Jo Sawicki.
Doubling the amount of supplies available will also alleviate a big challenge with sharing the lab, said Jessica Schulz, 22, a student in Sawicki's class.
"We had a big class in the first place, and we were kind of stepping on each other," added Candace Cook, 33, another CNA student.
FVTC's dash to bolster its nursing program comes from a deepening shortage of healthcare workers. Over 40 percent of registered nurses in the Fox Valley will retire or switch careers within 15 years, according to a 2007 survey conducted in seven area counties by the Fox Valley Health Care Alliance.
The survey also shows close to 14 percent of area licensed practical nurses will retire or switch careers within the next five years.
While a number of factors fuel concerns about the labor force – colleges can't afford competitive salaries to attract enough educators and businesses continue to grow despite the lack of new workers — age demographics of current employees trumps them all, said Cheryl Welch, executive administrator for the Fox Valley Workforce Development board.
"The irony about health care is … the (baby boomer) population that is leaving is the population that may be demanding more services from that industry," Welch said.