The COVID-19 pandemic has forced colleges and universities across the U.S. to adjust their teaching and learning models, moving more coursework online. In the case of healthcare education programs like nursing that require hands-on, practical training, many schools have moved to a hybrid learning approach. And according to a recent analysis by EduMed.org, Powell, Wyoming’s Northwest College boasts one of the best online associate degree in nursing programs in the country.
“A good online ADN program engages the students in a variety of teaching and learning methods that empower them to meet the learning outcomes while fostering their journey toward becoming a nurse,” says Marneé Crawford, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.E., NWC’s director of Nursing/Allied Health/EMS.
At NWC, that meant creating a hybrid program designed for adults who are working full-time while pursuing a degree in healthcare. “We offer the lecture components online and the labs and clinical experiences are on the weekends and occasional evenings,” Crawford explains. “This enables the full-time working adult to continue to work, do coursework online when they are able, like after getting the kids to bed or coming home from the evening shift, and block out time for the hands-on patient care on the weekends.”
The result: Out of over 7,700 accredited schools, EduMed.org ranked Northwest’s program in the top 20.
The growth of the hybrid, five-semester ADN program at NWC follows the continued interest in healthcare careers among students of traditional college age as well as those looking to go back to school and change careers. “We have seen a rise in the percentage of male students and a greater ethnic diversity among our nursing students,” adds Crawford. The student body is geographically diverse as well, with aspiring nurses from surrounding states like Montana and California, plus some international students.
In addition to the nationally ranked nursing program, NWC offers healthcare programs geared toward careers in emergency medical services, plus certificate programs for medical and nursing assistants. Regardless of the path students choose, Crawford believes it’s a thrilling time to pursue a career in healthcare.
“Technology and healthcare innovations make careers in healthcare exciting, challenging and relevant all across our world now and in the future,” she says. “For example, with the recent pandemic, healthcare access, diagnosis and treatment through telehealth continues to expand into previously unheard-of opportunities.”
Northwest College’s location outside of a major city means that many of these opportunities are on NWC’s doorstep.
“I expect innovations to continue and, as a result, new ways to interact and care for patients in rural and remote areas will create opportunities for healthcare graduates to flourish across our region,” Crawford says.
To learn more about the healthcare education programs at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, visit nwc.edu.