Regent University to open college of health-care sciences

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Regent University expects its 10,000-student enrollment to swell when the university opens its College of Healthcare Sciences and School of Nursing next year.

“Health care is exploding around the nation,” says the university’s founder, CEO and chancellor, M.G. “Pat” Robertson. “Demand for quality health-care graduates is three times that of other fields.”

The country is seeing growing demand for health-care services at a time it is experiencing a shortage of professionals in the field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health-care occupations is projected to grow 19 percent through 2024, adding about 2.3 million jobs. By 2030, the number of new nursing jobs nationally is expected to grow by more than 1 million, with more than 32,000 of those jobs being created in Virginia.

Regent’s current health-care programs will be included in the new college, which is expected to open in fall 2018. The college initially will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, master’s degrees in health-care informatics and health-care administration, and a doctorate in nursing practice. The college is scheduled to phase in five new programs in 2019 and continue to roll out programs in future years. “The demand is overwhelming. Health care is so important because the population is getting older,” Robertson says.

The university is searching for a dean to head the college. David L. Bernd, former CEO of Sentara Healthcare in Virginia and North Carolina, is chairing an advisory board that will work with university leadership on the process.

The college at first will be located in Regent’s existing buildings, but plans call for “future facilities to support clinical education and training,” says Robertson. “The university has also secured partnerships with local health-care facilities for the use of clinical spaces for hands-on training for students. The Regent leadership team, supported by our advisory board, seeks to ensure that the new college and its programs are the best in class.”

Regent is one of the nation’s fastest-growing universities, currently posting 18 percent growth in enrollment compared with the same time period last year. That percentage is expected to grow by the end of the year.

“Regent is a dynamic school these days,” Robertson says. “We want to be on the cutting edge of education.”

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