WGU Expanding Nursing Prelicensure Program: Announces New State-of-the-Art Nursing Simulation Lab in Kansas City, Missouri to Train 1,000+ Nurses By 2026

Allison Schultz News

The American Nurses Association estimates 1.2 million new nurses needed by 2030; WGU aims to advance health equity through quality nursing education and add more than 4,800 newly qualified nursing graduates to workforce by 2027

KANSAS CITY, MO (May 22, 2023) — Western Governors University (WGU) today announced plans to open an 18,000-square-foot nursing prelicensure simulation lab in Kansas City, Missouri designed for students who are seeking their first baccalaureate degree and want to prepare for a career in nursing while earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.). The lab will open in late 2023 and is part of WGU’s Michael O. Leavitt School of Health’s (LSH) investment and expansion of the nation’s leading nursing prelicensure program. WGU’s Kansas City lab features state-of-the-art hospital equipment, 17 patient beds in five simulation rooms, and four patient exam rooms. The location also includes two skills labs, five student-focused debriefing rooms, and a large multipurpose room for training and teaching.

In Missouri, WGU expects to train and graduate more than 1,000 nurses by 2026. Nationwide, WGU plans to open nursing prelicensure simulation labs across 11 states, adding capacity to train more than 4,800 nursing graduates to the workforce by 2027.  Click here to learn more about LSH’s growing prelicensure program, including the paced completion time, tuition, and the weekly hours expected to spend on studies, assessments and in the completion of clinical rotations and simulation labs.

“Thanks to the financial support from the Missouri General Assembly — and support from local leaders like the Platte County Economic Development, Missouri Partnership, Kansas City Area Development Council, and all of our Missouri and local Kansas City partners — WGU is advancing health equity through quality nursing education and removing barriers that prevent access to nursing degrees. We are growing the pipeline of well-qualified nurses ready to join the workforce in the Show Me State,” said Janelle Sokolowich, WGU Academic Vice President and Dean, Leavitt School of Health. “We’ve designed the program so that there are no prerequisite courses for program admission, opening doors for many first-time students here in Missouri and the surrounding area.”

With partnerships with healthcare employers in several states, WGU provides practice sites and clinical coaches to teach and inspire students. Approximately 60% of the program is completed online, with the remaining 40% as hands-on clinical and lab time. Students will complete multiple clinical rotations in hospitals and community-based settings for each clinical course. The program includes cutting-edge clinical simulations, virtual and high-fidelity simulations, and agency-based clinical rotations in hospitals and other healthcare sites within the community.

“We are proud that WGU has selected Platte County, the fastest-growing county in the state of Missouri, to expand their nursing prelicensure program with the announcement of the new simulation lab,” said Tina Chace, Executive Director of Platte County Economic Development Council. “There is significant demand for healthcare professionals, both nationally and regionally here in the Kansas City metro. We are confident that WGU’s efforts to attract and train nursing students will help to address that shortage and build a strong workforce pipeline.”

 “Missouri takes pride in its leadership in healthcare innovation and remains committed to nurturing a highly skilled workforce for the ever-growing demand in all industries,” said Subash Alias, CEO of Missouri Partnership. “WGU’s distinctive training method for aspiring nurses will play a vital role in addressing the national nursing shortage, and we are proud Missouri is a part of it.”

More than 20,000 nursing students are currently enrolled at WGU’s Leavitt School of Health (LSH), and more than 120,000 have graduated from LSH. With WGU’s new prelicensure program, students can enroll with no prerequisites and graduate in four years with all requirements needed to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The prelicensure program will steadily expand as WGU continues to develop nursing labs and clinical space for in-person and clinical lab rotations throughout the country.

WGU’s competency-based learning model allows students to advance in the program as soon as they prove mastery of the material through rigorous assessment. As a result, graduates are well-prepared to enter the workforce. Over the last five years, WGU’s first-time National Council Licensure Examine (NCLEX) average pass rate was 90.82 percent, markedly higher than the national average of all BSN programs as reported by NCSBN. WGU has educated two percent of the nation’s registered nurses, representing more than 170,000 jobs in the healthcare industry.

Members of the WGU team in attendance at the nursing simulation lab announcement.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 145,000 students nationwide and has more than 322,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In less than 30 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News and CNN and in The New York Times. Learn more at  wgu.edu and wgu.edu/impact.  


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