ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A new Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College School of Nursing was dedicated Tuesday in a ceremony that highlighted the college’s nursing education legacy in Western North Carolina.
Nursing faculty, students, and alumni were joined by college, health care, and community leaders in the Ferguson Center for Allied Health and Workforce Development on A-B Tech’s main campus in Asheville.
“The establishment of the A-B Tech School of Nursing recognizes the critical role A-B Tech has played in educating and preparing nurses to work in hospitals and medical facilities throughout the region since the college was founded in 1959,” A-B Tech President John Gossett said in a news release. “A-B Tech has produced thousands of graduates who are essential in meeting the demands of the region’s health care industry and to delivering compassionate, high-quality patient care.”
When the college was founded, it assumed administration of the Asheville School of Practical Nursing, which opened in 1954. A-B Tech offered the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program until 2015. Gossett said the LPN program will be revived this fall, pending final approval by the N.C. Board of Nursing at its May 18 meeting.
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The new A-B Tech School of Nursing includes A-B Tech’s Associate Degree Nursing program (founded in 1970), the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program with Western Carolina University, the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, and the LPN program.
“The A-B Tech School of Nursing validates the college’s commitment to educational excellence and to expanding nursing education programs to meet the healthcare workforce needs of our community,” Christy Andrews, the Jack and Carolyn Ferguson Endowed Chair for the School of Nursing, said in the news release. “Nurses are more in demand than ever for many reasons, including the pandemic and an aging population. With more than 12,000 openings projected in the next few years, the need is wide open.”
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Andrews also directly addressed nursing students attending the event. “Nursing students are resilient, persistent, and compassionate,” she said. “You have chosen a career that will put you in the worst days of people’s lives, but it will all be worth it. When the patients and families you have helped tell their stories of births, illnesses or deaths in their families, the nurse who was with them will always be part of their stories.”
Fall admission for A-B Tech’s Associate Degree Nursing program opens on May 8, and the CNA program is registering students for May classes. Pending NC Board of Nursing approval, the LPN program will admit students for the fall semester beginning May 20.