Online nursing program canceled |

Online nursing program canceled

Amanda Fehd
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / The Sierra College online nursing program at LTCC will not be available this year.

An online nursing degree program that graduated seven students from South Shore in December will not be returning to Lake Tahoe Community College and Barton Memorial Hospital this year.

Last year, the pilot program guaranteed 10 slots for Tahoe-area students.

No one from the Tahoe area applied to the program this year, according to Maggie White, associate dean of nursing at Sierra College, which administers the program. She guessed there were no Tahoe applicants because clinical classes will be taught at hospitals in the Sacramento area.

Last year, clinical classes were offered at Barton. White said she will offer the program at Barton again if she can recruit one of her clinical nursing faculty to teach there for a semester.

“There’s not only a shortage of nurses but also a critical shortage of nursing instructors,” White said. “That is an ongoing problem.”

Hospitals throughout the country are short on nurses, including Barton.

The program is the first online nursing associates degree approved in the state of California. Several hundred applied this year, according to Kathy Cocking, chief operations officer for Barton.

The program’s fate in Tahoe is unclear. It could return if the right resources are available and if there are qualified applicants from Tahoe.

“We couldn’t have done without the support of LTCC and Barton and I’d really like to be able to offer it again up there in the spring,” White said.

Two years ago, LTCC secured funding to hire Cocking to secure licensing.

“They paid me as a contract employee to do all the legwork and licensure packet,” Cocking said.

LTCC offers all prerequisites for the program, such as anatomy and physiology.

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