WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — As some Kansas hospitals struggle to find enough nurses, two Kansas schools are working together to tackle the problem.

Cowley College administrators began brainstorming ways to address the nursing shortage in their area. The school offers a pre-nursing track but not a nursing program.

It reached out to Butler Community College (BCC), which does have a nursing program. It also contacted William Newton Hospital in Winfield and South-Central Kansas Medical Center in Arkansas City.

(Courtesy Cowley College and Butler Community College)

The result of the collaboration is a new School of Nursing at Cowley’s Winfield Campus without the usual expense of starting a new school. The program is set to launch in the fall of 2023.

“This is a shared commitment to increase Butler’s nursing program by 16 students total, adding eight students per calendar year at Cowley College’s Winfield campus over the next two years,” Dr. Tom Nevill, BCC vice president of Academics, said in a news release.

“This partnership made sense since each year, several of our pre-nursing students attend Butler in El Dorado to complete their Nursing degree,” said Dr. Michelle Schoon, Cowley College vice president of Academic Affairs. “This partnership brings classes to Cowley County, thus opening spots in the El Dorado program for Butler’s local students.”

William Newton Hospital and South-Central Kansas Medical Center will supply clinical experiences for the nursing students.

“We’re bringing high-quality health care training to the area for a fraction of the cost,” Schoon said. “Cowley College doesn’t have to build a new Nursing program, and Butler doesn’t have to build additional facilities for expansion. Really both regions will benefit with students learning locally, which also increases their potential for success.”

BCC says its nursing program ranks in the top five community colleges in Kansas for passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, NCLEX, for Associate Degree in Nursing, and in the top three for Practical Nursing from 2016 to 2020.

BCC offers Allied Health, EMT and AEMT training. In addition, it has a partnership with the University of Kansas that allows students to earn their associate degree and bachelor’s degree in nursing simultaneously.