State’s nursing program will cost millions to expand | NevadaAppeal.com

State’s nursing program will cost millions to expand

ELKO – Vice Chancellor Danny Klaich told the Board of Regents on Thursday it will cost $21.8 million to meet the legislative directive to double the number of nursing students in Nevada.

Klaich said the university system managed to double the number of students after the 2003 session with a minimal amount of added funding.

“But in the context of no good deed goes unpunished, we’ve been asked to do it again.”

He said after crunching the numbers, the system can’t double the number of nursing graduates again without a substantial infusion of cash – including money for buildings.

He said university officials at every level agree Nevada needs to greatly increase the number of trained nurses available in the state and supports the legislative directive to do so.

“We cannot do that without the help of the state of Nevada,” he said. “We cannot fund this out of our hides. We’ve got to have legislative support for this.”

Klaich said that means asking lawmakers to move expansion of the nursing programs outside the system’s formula funding.

“If they want us to double nursing enrollments, we’re going to have to ask for the faculty to be paid for up front,” he said.

Chancellor Jim Rogers said the budget won’t work using formula funding to set salaries, which he said have gone up dramatically because of demand for nursing instructors.

“If we do that we are $30,000 short on every instructor in the nursing program, he said.

Both Klaich and Rogers said lawmakers will have to deal with the classroom and lab space necessary to handle all those students as well. Klaich said the hospital association has offered to make space available for classes as an interim measure but that is only a temporary fix.

“A patch will not work here,” he said. “We need to present the state of Nevada with a fair and reasonable cost.”

Campus officials told the board the demand is there from students as well. Richard Carpenter, president at Community College of Southern Nevada, said his nursing program had to turn away 40 percent of the qualified students who applied last year because the program was full.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750