MYRTLE BEACH — The Galen College of Nursing opened its new Myrtle Beach campus Aug. 3, and officials hope it will help address the statewide nursing shortage.
Galen College of Nursing, one of the nation’s largest private nursing schools, worked with Grand Strand Health to build its new Myrtle Beach campus. Grand Strand Health is a multi-facility health system located along the coast of Grand Strand.
A groundbreaking and groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus was held on August 3. This is the first campus the college has opened in South Carolina, with others located in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Tiffany Keys, chief nursing officer at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, said the new location has been in the works for more than three years, since March 2019. At least 90 students have already enrolled and about 150 students plan to graduate. at the end. of the first year.
“We’re very excited, for lack of a better word, because this is truly a game-changer for our community,” Keys said. “I’m already getting the calls we need to grow. We’re going to need more space, or maybe a little bigger, and we’ll do that. We’re committed to that growth.”
Mayor Brenda Bethune said she was delighted to learn that 150 students plan to graduate by the end of the year on the new campus. She said there was a great need for new nurses in the Myrtle Beach area, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the country.
Horry County, in particular, is the fastest growing county in the state.
“It’s great for our community, it’s great for economic development, and it’s great for our entire state,” Bethune said at the ceremony. “Thank you for bringing new nurses to the fastest growing area in the country. It’s so needed, and it’s such an honor to have you here in Myrtle Beach.”
The recent opening of the Galen campus in Myrtle Beach comes as South Carolina experiences a statewide nursing shortage.
In 2020, the state had 40,600 employed registered nurses, or about 7.9 RNs per 1,000 population. By 2030, the state is expected to see about 10,400 nursing vacancies, which is the fourth most severe nursing shortage in the nation, according to a 2021 study from the University of St. Augustine.
Keys said this new campus will help address this shortage by graduating nursing students each term, so new graduate nurses can enter the workforce faster.
Additionally, she said Galen encourages and recruits students who may be seeking a second degree or career. Because of this, she said it would help tap into a new pool of potential nurses.
“They really cater to a different type of learner that might not be in the market,” Keys said. “It’s a whole untapped resource filled with people who may not think they can be a nurse. Galen encourages that and then provides them with the resources and support to achieve their goals.”
One such student is Ronetta Grate, 40, of Myrtle Beach. Grate said she decided to go back to nursing school after working in various medical departments for more than 20 years. Grate has three children, including a 21-year-old daughter who also plans to date Galen.
“I think you really have to frame your life in a way that you can do that,” Grate said of her attendance at nursing school. “But if you do that, Galen has all the tools you’ll need to succeed and be a great nurse.”
Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter @NicoleZiege.