With roughly 1,400 openings for nurses in the Ocala area alone, many nurses with associate’s degrees are trying to fill those available spots by becoming RNs. However, despite the nursing shortage and addition of new nursing programs, finding an available slot in nursing schools has been an ongoing difficulty for many students.

Getting into nursing school isn’t the end of the battle with many programs offering a rigorous curriculum in addition to requiring extensive clinical training. Rasmussen, however, will be making clinical hours easier for its students. Due to a change in state law, nursing students are allowed to spend 50 percent of required clinical hours in simulated settings, prompting Rasmussen to offer state-of-the-art simulation training.

Karen Guty, Dean of Nursing at Rasmussen, believes that while live patient care training is still vital to becoming an RN, students can often learn even more from simulated settings. Students at Rasmussen receive real-life training with high-tech mannequins that simulate serious illnesses for students to diagnose and treat. In live clinic settings students are usually asked to check blood pressure and vitals, not thrust into emergency situations like during simulation training.

Rasmussen believes nursing programs are vital to closing the national RN gap. With RN workforces expected to grow 19 percent to 3.24 million openings by 2022, RNs are desperately needed. The new School of Nursing will be a big step in educating more registered nurses with 500 students currently enrolled at their two campuses.

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