- HCA Healthcare is opening its eighth nursing school campus with Galen College of Nursing in Asheville, North Carolina, this September, according to a Monday release from the for-profit hospital operator.
- HCA acquired a majority ownership stake in Galen in 2020 and has since opened seven campuses.
- With the new Asheville campus, Galen will have 13 locations and total enrollment is predicted to reach 10,000 students this year, according to the release.
The move comes as health systems across the country deal with heightened turnover and staffing challenges spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. HCA’s partnership with Galen is intended to temper long-term concerns by bolstering its pipeline of new nurses, according to the system.
When Galen joined HCA in 2020, the school had five campus locations and about 7,000 students enrolled, according to the release.
The U.S. is expected to have an estimated 194,500 open registered nursing positions each year through the next decade, with many of those slots resulting from turnover as nurses leave for different occupations or retire, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While interest in nursing programs hasn’t waned, shortages of nursing educators and clinical sites pose challenges to systems across the country.
Enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate, master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs has risen continuously for the past 15 years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
But nearly 80,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs in 2020 due to resource constraints, namely shortages of clinical sites and faculty, according to AACN.
Nearly 1,900 HCA Healthcare employees are currently enrolled in career advancement programs at Galen, and HCA offers loan repayment and tuition assistance programs for eligible employees. The hospital chain employs more than 93,000 registered nurses, according to the release.