PIERCE COLLEGE : 200 Apply for Nursing Program

More than 200 students competed for 38 openings in the Pierce College nursing program for the fall semester.

Sharon Hall, chairwoman of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health, attributed the large number of applicants to the poor economic situation and limited availability of jobs.

“We usually have more applications than can be taken, but particularly now when jobs are scarce we have a lot of aerospace people applying, as well as women whose husbands are out of work,” Hall said.


Those admitted were selected using a point system. “We give the students points for non-nursing classes they’ve taken, such as anatomy or microbiology, and also for their score on the entrance test,” Hall said.

A limited number of students can be accepted into the program because of the nature of the classes and the number of instructors in the department, she said.

“We take students to the hospital, and we can only supervise so many safely,” Hall said.

Students use the on-campus nursing-skills lab to practice activities such as making beds and bathing. “When they go to the hospital, they practice taking care of real live patients. The nurse in charge of the floor works with the instructor and students,” Hall said.

The reputation of Pierce’s nursing program also contributed to the large number of applicants, Hall said. An example of its excellence is the eight-year accreditation it received in the spring from the National League for Nursing, she said. Unlike the required accreditation from the state Board of Registered Nursing, the league accreditation is voluntary.

“The voluntary accreditation is good for our students . . . some jobs are only open to league- accredited school graduates,” Hall said. “It’s the icing on the cake.”

She said 100% of the program’s graduates get jobs.