By Kira Dye
A new junction of Butler Community College and Cowley College is set to begin in the Fall 2023 semester. Butler’s well-known nursing program is extending to Cowley to complement the pre-nursing path of the college in Winfield.
“The partnership will bring changes to both colleges that I hope will be mutually beneficial,” said Janet Schueller, Butler’s associate dean of Nursing. “Cowley College had empty classrooms, labs and mannequins, and Butler’s nursing program is land locked with limited space to expand in El Dorado. Butler Community College will be able to meet the requests from students in Cowley County who want to attend a nursing program within their own community.”
The idea started with Cowley College’s administration recognizing the local need for nurses, however, with no nursing program in the areas of Cowley and Sumner counties. It would be very expensive to create an entire school of nursing in the area, but luckily, a well-known nursing program was nearby at Butler Community College. After talks of a conjunction of BCC and William Newton Hospital in Winfield, Cowley had forces to join with.
“[The] Butler Community College Nursing Program has an outstanding reputation,” said Michelle Schoon, the vice president of Academic Affairs at Cowley. “Many of our pre-nursing students already select Butler as one of their choices. This partnership will allow for the Cowley College students to stay closer to home and still get the quality education that Butler is known for.”
This partnership doesn’t just support the students of both colleges; however, both areas can begin to see a development of the healthcare service industry with more local education being founded. With students able to stay closer to home, it becomes much more likely for graduating nurses to stay in the area and rebuild the supply of nurses needed.
“This particular partnership provides an avenue for more capacity to serve more students in our nursing program,” said Tom Nevill, the vice president of Academics at Butler Community College. “The reality is that there has always been a shortage of nurses – nursing programs like ours are limited in capacity to train nurses at the highest level and unlikely to lose demand, and of course the pandemic took its toll on the profession. It is our mission and purpose that Butler remains a leader in our region for innovation to solve problems and serve our students to the best of our abilities, to include our awesome nursing program.”
“Although we currently have a waiting list for our nursing spots, we are hoping that these additional eight students per year help us to expand our ability to provide more students with a quality nursing school experience and to help reduce the shortage of nurses currently being felt across the country,” Schueller added.
As one more development to the well-known Butler Nursing program, Cowley, Sumner, Butler, and the surrounding communities are sure to see a benefit with the new partnership, according to sources.