Washington Regional Medical System in Fayetteville has donated $1 million to NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC).
The money will support the two-year Bentonville college’s health professions and nurse training programs. The money will also support the $12 million “NWACC NOW!” fundraising campaign that’s backing NWACC’s new Washington County building, now under construction next to Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.
The funds, according to a news release, will support the new building’s Washington Regional Nursing Simulation Lab, which will offer “hands-on learning opportunities to prepare nursing students for the fast-paced acute care environment, and ultimately help fill the expanding healthcare needs of the northwest Arkansas region,” according to the release.
NWACC Foundation Executive Director Annetta Tirey said the Washington Regional gift puts the capital campaign at $5.6 million in cash and pledges raised.
“Here at Washington Regional, it’s essential for our success to support NorthWest Arkansas Community College’s outstanding health professions and nurse training programs,” Washington Regional President and CEO Larry Shackelford said in a statement. “Following graduation from these programs, many NWACC students go on to serve our community and work at Washington Regional, which is why we’re honored to help ensure they receive the best training possible.”
Construction of the Springdale building should be finished in time to open for students in January 2020.
“Our partnership with Washington Regional will ensure the continuity of high-quality health professions and nurse training programs to meet the growing needs of Northwest Arkansas, and to provide the best possible educational environment for our students,” NWACC President Evelyn Jorgenson said. “This gift is especially important for the expansion of our nursing program due to the shortage of nurses in Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Center for Nursing, one-third of qualified nursing school applicants were turned away from Arkansas nursing schools in the fall of 2017 due to lack of clinical space and faculty.
“This support from Washington Regional will help us meet the needs of both prospective students seeking to pursue this occupational path and the community by training more nursing professionals for our growing region.”