Avila Now

August 12, 2022

School of Nursing Expanding Program and Footprint

A social work student watches (right) as two nursing students ask the "patient" questions about her health.
Home Visit Simulation Lab. A social work student watches (right) as two nursing students ask the "patient" questions about her health.

Avila Nursing Expanding Program and Footprint

Avila University’s  BSN program was the first accredited in Kansas City and boasts nearly 2,500 active nursing alumni, clinical partnerships with 20 sites in the metro, and an exemplary NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) pass rate. But the demand for nurses in the Kansas City region and the country continues to grow. 

In November 2021, Avila received permission from the Missouri State Board of Nursing to increase enrollment from cohorts of 54 students to 68 students. To accommodate this enrollment opportunity and the need for nurses, Avila will add a second cohort starting spring 2023, construct a new, dedicated lab space, and hire additional full-time faculty in fall 2023. Additionally, a new collaboration with North Kansas City Hospital has added new dedicated clinical sites. 

“The expansion of Avila’s School of Nursing, both in terms of the number of students and the space needed to provide an exceptional learning environment, further solidifies Avila’s long and proud tradition of educating the best nursing professionals in the KC region and beyond,” said Angel Yanez, the new chair of Avila School of Nursing. 

“We are also investigating and pursuing adding new nursing degree programs at Avila, which I know many alumni are excited to see.”

Avila’s new Simulation Learning Center 

At 1,500 square feet, the new hands-on learning facility will be located north of Wylie Hall and equipped with utilities and a separate entrance. The design has been affectionately named the Nursing Village and can be adapted to provide long-term flexibility and house a multi-use simulation, debriefing, and classroom flex space.

 The facility will augment Avila’s existing Nursing Education Resource Center (NERC) to provide the requisite space and simulation equipment to prepare the next generation of nurses for careers in various healthcare settings.  

High-tech and high touch

“Avila has a long and proud tradition of educating the best nursing professionals in the KC region and beyond.  We are excited to expand our facilities to increase effective hands-on activities with students and expand the cohort size to provide more openings to new and transfer students,” said the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Darrin Smith, Ph.D.

New, higher-quality simulation technology will increase students’ confidence and competence levels while enhancing the critical skills development and clinical judgment they need for a successful entry into licensed clinical practice.  

“The new simulation learning center will allow us to educate more nurses and provide a more realistic state-of-the-art education. We want our students to be able to think like nurses from their first experiences in nursing school so that by the time they get to graduation, they have many experiences to draw from and can practice in the very high-tech, high-touch world of health care,” said Avila School of Nursing Chair Angel Yanez.

Over 1 million RNs will retire by 2030

The healthcare industry saw a rising need for nurses due to the extreme demands that the pandemic placed on healthcare professionals. Combined with the reality that 31% of all Missouri nurses are older than 54 and are heading towards retirement, “a 2015 study predicted that over one million RNs will retire from the workforce between now and 2030. As they go, they take with them their invaluable amount of accumulated knowledge and nursing experience,” according to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Since the pandemic, nursing has made the top ten list of jobs most in demand on LinkedIn. “Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.6 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups,” said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

“Out of the 114 total counties in Missouri, 97 are designated as healthcare professional shortage areas,” said Anne Heyen DNP, an assistant teaching professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. Avila has wanted to expand their program to meet the community’s demands, but limited lab space and simulation equipment have prevented growth. 

Avila’s Nursing Village has an anticipated completion date of October 2022, and the new cohort will launch in spring 2023 in the new building. Avila University is proud of its history of providing exceptional nursing education and its impact on greater Kansas City. It looks forward to the exciting future this new lab will provide. 

When considering nursing schools, Avila was always at the top of my list.”
Attending Catholic schools in the Kansas City area, from grade school through high school, made me want to continue my education at a Catholic University. Continuing to practice my faith in college helped shape me into the person I am today.   Avila University leadership, academics, and networking opportunities guided me to be a successful nurse and now a nurse practitioner. I absolutely loved my time at Avila and continue to share my experience with pre-nursing students as a mentor.”  — Kate Greub ‘14

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