William Woods Nursing

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FULTON - William Woods University announced the arrival of its new nursing program Thursday morning.

"Our academic mission at William Woods University is to produce marketable graduates who are demanded by a wide variety of employers. If you look at the health care industry, there are significant employment needs for healthcare professionals," John Fougere, vice president of strategic communications said.

Fougere said health care is a "recession-proof" industry, and hopes the program will help fill empty positions in Missouri, as well as attract students to the school.

The program starts during the 2018-2019 academic year, where students will learn on campus and at the Fulton State Hospital, which will have a new building in 2019.

Students will have access to classroom space, additional space for a simulation lab, office space for nursing faculty and staff and access to the hospital’s library.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to partner with William Woods to support a nursing program in Fulton,” said Andy Atkinson, chief operating officer of Fulton State Hospital. “I am hopeful this collaboration will not only further increase educational opportunities and resources to our employees, it will expand the nursing applicant pool for our hospital and community."

University administration is still looking for a director of the proposed School of Nursing, which will initiate the process of selecting the specific degree programs the school will offer.

Afterwards, the university will need to gain approval for the programs from the Missouri State Board of Nursing, and designing a course curriculum for each.

Fougere said the School of Nursing is one example of the "adaptability" the school possesses.

"For small private liberal arts college, it's very difficult to not only thrive, but just survive," Fougere said. "If you're not thinking outside of the box and not looking ahead and being able to change, you're not going to survive."