In response to a forecasted need for nurses in Texas, the Hospital Corporation of America, the parent company of Medical City Healthcare, is aiming to attract new students to the profession by erecting a new campus in Richardson in 2023.

Texas Health and Human Services project that by 2024, the demand for nurses in the state will exceed the supply. Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the registered nurse profession will experience, on average, 194,500 job openings yearly over the next decade.

As the population ages and baby boomers need more medical care, the challenge to keep hospitals sufficiently staffed continues to grow.

The Hospital Corporation of America will join with its affiliate, Galen College of Nursing, to create the new 40,000-square-foot campus, which will eventually increase the number of nurses in the North Texas region.

The campus is expected to be state of the art, with modern medical technology outfitting the college. The school will offer multiple programs, including a three-year bachelor of science in nursing.

It is expected to be operational by January 2023, with its first 40 students enrolling in its bachelor’s program. The school will continue to enroll additional students four times per year, offering flexible start times for would-be pupils.

While anyone can enroll in the college, the school will provide incentives for employees working in the Medical City Health hospital system. Students will have the opportunity to continue working flexible schedules while completing their education. Tuition assistance will also be offered to current employees looking to become nurses or those wishing to further their nursing education.

According to the executive vice president of nursing at Galen, Audria Denker, “We help them eliminate the barriers of getting in… If they’re an employee of Medical City already, it’s to their advantage because then they’ll already have all those benefits coming to them.”

Galen operates schools across the country, offering online courses paired with in-person training. The school prioritizes flexible arrangements, given that many students struggle to balance family and work. Galen schedules classes in such a way that most students need only visit their campus twice a week.

A lack of instructors and facilities willing to host qualified candidates has contributed to the nursing shortage. As a result, hospitals often pay upwards of three times the typical wage to attract a traveling nurse. The new campus in North Texas, however, will help alleviate the growing shortage in the region.

For her part, Denker is ready to take on the challenge. “We think of ourselves as a workforce solution… My job is to fill every vacancy, which is a lofty goal. I know it will not be just me. But I can help that shortfall of nurses one student at a time. That’s how we like to approach this,” she said.