BLOUNTVILLE - A new registered nurse degree program is coming to the Tri-Cities.
Northeast State Technical Community College plans to start a two-year registered nursing program with about 30 to 60 students in the fall.
The Tennessee State Board of Nursing, meeting in Nashville Thursday, approved Northeast State's proposal to admit students to the associate of applied science degree in nursing program.
The first class will be admitted in the fall semester, Northeast State President Bill Locke said Friday after returning from Nashville.
"We're going to take a class of we said 30. We can take up to 60, but we'll probably have 40 or 50," Locke said of the program, which he said was a major triumph because it is the first such nursing program the state has approved in at least seven years.
The nursing program will be taught at Northeast State's Gray campus, but Locke said the pre-nursing classes would be taught at all locations, including Blountville, Kingsport and Elizabethton.
Locke said some of the students would come from the 600 pre-nursing students enrolled at Northeast State.
Those students also can go on to nursing programs at Walters State Community College in Morristown, East Tennessee State University, Milligan College, Tusculum College or other schools.
Locke said Northeast State would hire a director of nursing and nursing faculty, solicit applications in about a month, and appoint an advisory committee including local hospital representatives to screen applicants.
The program is for students in Northeast State's primary service counties: Sullivan, Washington, Johnson, Carter and Unicoi.
Patrick Kane, Wellmont Health System's senior vice president of marketing, and Monty McLaurin, vice president and chief executive officer of Mountain State Health Alliance's Indian Path Medical Center, said the "grow your own" program will help ease the nursing shortage in the region.
King College and Wellmont have partnered to form a nursing program on the campus of Wellmont's Holston Valley Medical Center, and both health system officials said their employers have worked with ETSU and Northeast State on nursing programs.
A news conference on the new program is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the president's conference room at the Blountville campus near Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
For more information visit www.nstcc.cc.tn.us.
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