WSU, K-State hope to develop satellite nursing program in Manhattan



WSU nursing students take turns practicing standard procedures on each other at Wesley Medical Center. The WSU School of Nursing hopes to collaborate with Kansas State University on a satellite program in Manhattan.

As part of a push to further educate more nurses, Wichita State University and Kansas State University hope to collaborate on a satellite nursing program in Manhattan.

The program would allow K-State students to earn a three-year bachelor’s degree from the K-State College of Health and Human Sciences. If accepted into WSU’s nursing program, the students could then earn a two-year bachelor’s degree of science in nursing (BSN) at the Manhattan site.

Potential benefits of the program, proponents say, include addressing a shortage of nurses in the state and drawing students to K-State who might otherwise not attend. 

“This is such a quality program, and there is such a need in the state to have this level of preparation for our registered nurses,” said Voncella McCleary-Jones, chair of the WSU School of Nursing. “For those individuals there in Manhattan that want to stay in place and bring more bachelor’s-prepared RNs to that area, it’s going to be highly desirable for employers.”

Administrators from WSU and K-State signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in August, a first step in the planning phase that will lead to an application to the Kansas State Board of Nursing for the satellite program.  

While she hopes the application will be submitted before the end of the year, McCleary-Jones said there are several working pieces that need to come together before it can be submitted — including preparing clinical “slots” for nursing students who would be enrolled at the satellite location. Those arrangements would allow students to gain hands-on experience with medical facilities in the Manhattan area.

The proposed site for the satellite program also has to undergo some renovations, McCleary-Jones said, specifically to include a simulation lab. Equipment like hospital beds and oxygen systems will also be added at the site.

After receiving the application, the state nursing board would review it at its soonest quarterly meeting.

“Once [the application] is reviewed to their satisfaction, they then want to do a site visit to get on the ground and meet all the individuals that will be connected to that satellite location,” said McCleary-Jones, who is also the associate dean of the College of Health Professions.

If the program is approved, McCleary-Jones said it will use the same curriculum as WSU’s four-year nursing program.

Hallie Yeubanks, a freshman nursing student at Butler Community College, plans to earn her BSN through BCC’s program with the University of Kansas.

But she said she would have opted for K-State if the university previously had a nursing program available.

“I’ve always been a (Jayhawk), but K-State has such a great and friendly atmosphere,” said Yeubanks, who plans to be a labor and delivery nurse after college.

The El Dorado resident said the Manhattan area is part of the draw of K-State.

“The town is beautiful, and the campus is, too,” Yeubanks said.

The universities also say the proposed program is in-response to a national effort to get more BSNs in the hands of working nurses. 

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a report that recommended 80% of nursing professionals have a BSN by 2020. That number now sits at an estimated 50-60% of the nursing workforce. 

The WSU School of Nursing is the second-largest nursing school in Kansas, offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in the field. The school’s baccalaureate program was first given national accreditation in 1973. 

In 2018, the Kansas State Board of Nursing awarded the school with a certificate of excellence for having a pass rate higher than the national average among nursing students taking the NCLEX-RN test for the first time. Students must pass the test to receive their nursing license.