HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The nursing program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has grown over the years, and now it has been recognized at the best in the state.
The program was named the best community college nursing program in the state, and they’re second only to a four-year university.
The ranking was provided by RegisteredNursing.org, a nursing advocacy organization. Twenty-three programs in the state were assessed on several factors, including students’ historical pass rate of the nursing exam.
Joan Hendrix, the Associate Vice President of Health Sciences said the students and faculty are excited about the listing.
“The nursing students are great. They’re involved. They’re engaged in the classrooms, in the labs, in the clinical settings. And we’re proud that our faculty is really preparing them to be the best nurses, not only here in the state of Mississippi but in throughout this country,” Hendrix explained.
There are several nursing programs in South Mississippi, and Gulf Coast Community College has positioned itself to attract the best students.
“This program was highly rated. We have a lot of clinical hours and a lot of opportunities, and that was a big part of why I chose this program,” said nursing student Sarah Dejarnette of Saucier.
Madison Impey of Ocean Springs agreed.
“My decision had a lot to do with their program. I’ve wanted to be in the medical field for as long as I can remember. But knowing Mississippi Gulf Coast and their ranking, this is where I wanted to go,” she said.
The school has 34 faculty members, and they are a huge part of the school’s success.
One of the instructors graduated from Gulf Coast and has seen the program’s growth first-hand.
“We came from department store mannequins at JD when I went there all the way up to these simulation men that really can function and cough and blink and sweat and pee,” said nursing instructor Jennifer Hurlbert.
“We have this state of the art simulation center here that recently got accredited, so we’re really excited about this new building and all the things that are happening here. We’re excited for our students to be successful,” Hurlbert said.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has 500 nursing students a semester at their new facility at the Tradition campus.
Success can easily be measured by Gulf Coast students’ 93% passing rate of the licensing exam. In addition, the students have a 97% job placement rate.
Hendrix said there are almost 1,500 registered nursing positions in South Mississippi.
“Every single graduate, if they’re looking for a job, they can find a job,” she said. “Most are employed before even graduating.”