HASTINGS – Hastings College and Bryan College of Health Sciences announced that they have raised $2.5 million of the $3.1 million needed to build out and equip education facilities for a second location for Bryan’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, a workforce development partnership that will help address South Central Nebraska’s nursing shortage.
The nursing classrooms, laboratories and offices will occupy 17,000 square feet on the third floor of Mary Lanning Healthcare’s new addition to its Medical Services Building in Hastings. Groundbreaking for the addition was October 4. The project is expected to take about 18 months.
Nursing students will live in residence halls and take science and general education courses at Hastings College. Beginning their sophomore year, they will take nursing courses with Bryan College of Health Sciences faculty in the education center at Mary Lanning.
“This collaboration provides important benefits for all three partners,” said Dr. Rich Lloyd, executive president of Hastings College and president of Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln. “While Bryan Health and Mary Lanning Healthcare will benefit from first access to well-trained nursing graduates, Hastings College will, when the program is at full capacity, add 120 students to its residence halls and classrooms. We’ll also boost the economic vitality of this region by helping prepare students for high-wage, high-demand jobs.”
The faculty and administrative suite in the nursing center’s west wing will be named for Leota Rolls, a 1965 Hastings College graduate who served 47 years as a nurse, nursing educator and senior vice president at Mary Lanning. The east wing will be called the Tim and Linda Daugherty Educational Center for Health Professions in memory of Daugherty, who died in 2020 and was a 1970 Hastings College graduate and 21-year member of the college’s Board of Trustees, and in honor of his spouse, Linda Daugherty of Omaha, a Bryan nursing graduate.
“We are honored to recognize three people who have given back to Hastings College and this community in such extraordinary ways,” said Gary Freeman, executive director of the Hastings College Foundation.
Fundraising for the nursing facilities began in late 2020 after Lloyd began his dual presidency and announced the nursing partnership. The $2.5 million raised so far includes foundation grants, bequests and gifts from individual donors.
“This is the most innovative and collaborative partnership Hastings College has developed in more than 10 years, and we are hopeful that friends in the community can provide the final dollars to help us reach our goal,” Freeman said. “After the nursing facilities are complete, we plan to fine-tune and replicate this academic partnership for other workforce initiatives.”
The four-year, fully-accredited Bryan BSN program in Hastings will replicate Bryan’s successful nursing program in Lincoln, where 100 percent of graduates seeking nursing positions find employment within four months of graduation. Graduates of Bryan’s BSN program in 2020 achieved a 99 percent first-time pass rate on the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) compared with 87 percent of first-time test takers nationally.
Students in the Hastings program will complete more than 1,230 hours of clinical experiences, the highest number of any BSN program in Nebraska, with priority placements at Mary Lanning Healthcare and Grand Island Regional Medical Center. Both Mary Lanning and Bryan Health are part owners of the Grand Island facility.
South Central Nebraska, like other regions of the U.S., faces a shortage of nurses as health care needs escalate and scores of nurses reach retirement age. The Nebraska Center for Nursing, in its 2020 Biennial Report, predicts that by 2025 the need for nurses in the Central Economic Region, which includes Hastings, will grow by at least 20 percent and the state’s overall nursing shortage will surge by nearly 30 percent.
“Our BSN program will respond to the nursing shortage by graduating up to 30 registered nurses each year who are well trained and ready to work in hospitals and clinics,” Lloyd said.
For more information on the BSN program, visit Bryan College’s website at bryanhealthcollege.edu/