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University of Arizona set to launch nursing program in Gilbert

In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) — The University of Arizona College of Nursing is spreading its wings to metro Phoenix.

The college, which now has a program on the university’s main campus in Tucson, plans next fall to launch a new program in Gilbert on one floor of a town-owned building that already houses a satellite campus of a Missouri-based private university.

University of Arizona and Gilbert officials announced the new program in February, saying it would have an expected enrollment of 72 students in its first year and a total enrollment of 216 by its third year.

“We need new grads in all the facilities in the Phoenix area,” Connie Miller, the college’s chair of general nursing and health education, told KNXV-TV . “So, we’re trying to do our best to be putting out high-quality new graduates, as well.”

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said the town is focused on setting the stage for long-term education and business growth.

“We estimate we have 80,000 school-aged children in the town of Gilbert and there just is not enough higher education opportunities in the state,” Daniels said.

College of Nursing officials said the Gilbert program’s upper-division bachelor of science in nursing program will differ from conventional nursing training in that it “promotes a healing-oriented, whole-person approach to health care.”

The building is already equipped with a nursing simulation suite that replicates a hospital setting, which college officials said was a major factor in the college’s location decision.

The university also plans to continue to offer the coding boot camps that began in the University Building in 2017.

Park University based in Parkville, Missouri, set up its outpost in the building after another private university, Chicago-based Saint Xavier University, pulled out after one year.

“So, yes — we stumbled and I think that’s evident,” Daniels told KNXV-TV. “But, we’re really grateful for partners who believed in us like we believed the opportunity was there for them.”

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