New Addison college aims to fill expected demand for nurses
Long before treating real patients, students at the new Chamberlain College of Nursing in Addison will be trained to deal with a variety of health crises, including plummeting blood pressures and irregular heart rates.
Today, the nursing college is having a grand opening for its Swift Road site, next to DeVry University. It joins several Chamberlain campuses across the nation.
Jan Snow, dean of the Addison campus, said state-of-the-art simulation labs will help Chamberlain's first crop of grads stand out.
"Usually, colleges of nursing have one or two labs that are set up like a hospital room," Snow said.
Chamberlain, however, has built four labs that mimic not only a hospital room, but a doctor's office, specialty care for children and babies and a critical care unit.
In the laboratories, high-tech mannequins with adjustable vital signs are used to simulate a health emergency.
"The big difference is the critical-thinking skills our grads will leave with," Snow said.
Although Chamberlain's parent company, DeVry, Inc., won't say how many students are enrolled in the Addison site's freshman class, Chamberlain has about 1,100 students at its campuses nationwide.
In Addison, Chamberlain students can complete their bachelor's degree in three years, because the whole program runs year-round for nine semesters.
Since Chamberlain is next to DeVry, Snow says students coming straight from high school can take their general-education requirements at DeVry.
"I think gives us a unique component for students who are serious about nursing," she said.
Hospital officials in DuPage County say new crops of nurses might be at an advantage after 2010, when baby boomers are expected to begin retiring. However, nursing rosters are full right now.
Marsha Markham, lead nursing recruiter at Central DuPage Hospital, knows about the predictions of a nursing shortage, but said she's not seeing the effects locally yet.
"We've had to turn away stellar new grads," Markham said. "I've been talking to other hospitals, too, and their vacancy rates are not that large. But I know the baby boomers are going to be departing soon and there's a lot of them out there."
The shortage in Illinois is predicted to reach more than 21,000 nurses by 2020, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Chamberlain officials say there aren't enough schools and teachers to keep up with the statewide need, with more than 1,000 qualified students being denied nursing-school entrance in Illinois due to lack of capacity.
"We know there's a need, the public knows there's a need and we're looking to help fill that gap," Snow said.
Today's dedication will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Chamberlain College of Nursing, 1221 N. Swift Road, Addison. For details, call (630) 953-3680 or visit www.chamberlain.edu/addison.
By Elisabeth Mistretta Daily Herald Published: 3/13/2008