National Park College (NPC) in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas opened a nursing clinical simulation lab with the help of a $500,000 donation to the school last year and a $100,000 pledge per-year for three years for financial-aid packages for nursing students from CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs.

The sim lab is helping alleviate bottlenecks in the clinical pipeline, allowing more slots for students and providing simulation training for faculty. As a result, the Registered Nursing program had a 14 percent increase in enrollment this semester, for a total of 142 registered nursing students. The financial aid package also helped increase enrollment by a smaller number last year.

“We have doubled the amount of simulation that we are able to give our first-year students,” says Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, Janice Ivers, who reports 100 percent of graduates have jobs within six months or less of graduation and all nursing students received 100 percent graduate satisfaction from employers.

Tony Houston, president of CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, said the hospital had a significant shortage of nurses when he began discussions with NPC about the need to produce more nursing graduates. Now, with the help of increasing number of graduates from the nursing school, the hospital’s number of open nursing positions is 15-20, a much more manageable number from the previous number of 115-120.