The ASU at Lake Havasu admissions team can breathe a huge sigh of relief, because they’re offering a nursing degree later this year.
And that makes their top executive very happy.
“Every week since I’ve been here, our admissions office gets phone calls from students and community members asking if we offer a nursing program,” said Carla Harcleroad, who was hired as the ASU at Lake Havasu director in April 2020. “Now when they call we can say, ‘Yes, we have nursing!”
Beginning fall 2021, ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation will offer the Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) at the Lake Havasu location. The new program helps fill immediate job growth needs in the health care field both in Lake Havasu City and in Mohave and La Paz counties at large, an area that exceeds a population of 200,000.
Katherine Kenny, associate dean of academic affairs for Edson College, worked over a seven-month period with Harcleroad to create a program for Havasu. She said a lot of care and thought went into the endeavor.
“Our programs are in direct response to our national workforce needs and right now, there is a large need for rural health care,” Kenny said. “They are desperate for nurses, and I don’t see that need decreasing when the pandemic is over.” Kenny added that when nurses are educated in a smaller community like Lake Havasu City, they are more likely to be hired upon graduation and stay there.
But there is also great flexibility in the field, said Salina Bednarek, a clinical assistant professor and director at Edson College.
“Nursing in general is highly sought-after because graduates can pursue a variety of fields with this degree,” Bednarek said. Besides a hospital setting, she said, registered nurses can work at public schools, private corporations or nonprofits, mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers, older adult care, outpatient care centers and telemedicine.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $73,300 with some earning as much as $180,000 annually.
Students will have two possible pathways to the BSN: Those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field will be able to pursue nursing degee prerequisites at ASU at Lake Havasu through in class or remote course offerings. Students working on their first degree will also be able to complete the same prerequisites. Once admitted to the nursing program, students complete 50 nursing-specific credits. Initially, Havasu students will visit Phoenix at various points during their coursework for simulation and experiential learning at the Edson College Grace Center.
Harcleroad said Edson will offer the BSN at the ASU at Lake Havasu tuition rate, which is a lower rate compared to other ASU locations.
“It’s an incredible deal and opportunity for our students and community members,” Harcleroad said. “Part of our mission is to provide the most affordable education possible, and we feel like we’ve delivered on this promise.”
The program has space for 32 students in the fall 2021 cohort, and with current demand for nursing education, the program is expected to reach capacity each year.
Top photo courtesy of iStock/Getty Images.