UNMC College of Nursing in Scottsbluff relocates

The college has moved to Western Nebraska Community College and Regional West Medical Center.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing West Nebraska Division in Scottsbluff has relocated in Scottsbluff.

Since the mid-1990s, the college has leased space at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources’ Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The facility is in the process of being renovated, thus necessitating the college’s move.

The college moved its classroom, clinic skills laboratories and staff to the Western Nebraska Community College John N. Harms Advanced Technology Center. Faculty offices, as well as an assessment lab and a patient simulation suite, will be housed at Regional West Medical Center.

Faculty, staff and students at the UNMC College of Nursing West Nebraska Division not only  shared facilities at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, but also worked with the IANR to improve the health of people in the community.

Susan Wilhelm, Ph.D., assistant dean of the UNMC College of Nursing West Nebraska Division, said the college will continue to work with its partners at the IANR to improve the quality of life in western Nebraska. “We share the same goal to improve the health of Nebraskans,” Dr. Wilhelm said.

"The UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has partnered with the college on some wonderful projects over the years such as health screenings and education for farmers and others in our community,” said Chuck Hibberd, Ph,.D., dean and director of UN-L Extension, part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “In addition, we have advocated for nursing education in western Nebraska to help fill the continuing void of health care professionals in the region. We’ve had a good relationship and worked together to make sure students could have the best educational experience possible.”

Dr. Wilhelm said the move provides an opportunity to expand partnerships with two key leaders in education and health care in the community.

“We’re grateful to the medical center and college for welcoming us into their facilities,” Dr. Wilhelm said. “Our goal is to increase our efforts to provide seamless, continued advanced nursing education. We also want to offer increased use of simulation learning for panhandle area health care providers and increase inter-professional education.

“We’ve been partners with the medical center which serves as the largest training site for our nursing students. They’ve always been supportive of our faculty and staff and student endeavors and their faculty.”

“This arrangement is an extension of the cooperation between the college and our medical center that has helped to build an excellent nursing program,” said Todd Sorensen, M.D., president and CEO of Regional West Health Services. “We have worked in partnership with UNMC since the College of Nursing assumed direction of our nursing school in 1988, and we’re happy to welcome the administration and students to our campus.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with an outstanding organization and to meet the area health needs of the panhandle,’ said Todd Holcomb, Ph.D., president of Western Nebraska Community College. “The college looks forward to continuing our partnership on various levels in the future.”

Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, said the opportunity to work  closely with Western Nebraska Community College and Regional West Medical Center strengthens the college’s mission of preparing the highest level of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorally prepared nurses to meet the area’s growing health care needs, as well as prepare future nurse leaders.

By 2020, it’s projected that Nebraska will have a shortage of more than 3,800 nurses.

“We know the shortage is felt more acutely in rural areas so we must do everything we can to boost the numbers of nurses and help current nurses pursue higher degrees,” Dr. Sebastian said. “We want to expand our partnerships and create seamless ways to prepare the best nurses to lead the changes that are coming with the Affordable Care Act.”

Space in the college includes two large classrooms and one small classroom, a clinical skills lab, a simulation room, student services offices, and distance education capabilities.

Mail correspondence should be sent to the college at WNCC Harms Bldg., 1601 E. 27th St., Scottsbluff, NE 69361. Phone numbers, email addresses and the website remain unchanged.

Since the UNMC College of Nursing West Nebraska Division became part of UNMC in 1988, 910 students have graduated. The college currently has 72 students in the traditional bachelor’s of science in nursing program (BSN), 10 in the accelerated BSN program and 17 graduate students. The college employs 11 full-time faculty members and four staff.

Faculty are engaged in teaching and research, as well as nursing practice in hospital, outpatient and community clinic settings. Many of its graduates seek employment in the local area. It is the only institution with a bachelor’s degree in nursing program in a 150-mile area. For more information, contact the college at 308-632-0413.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.

Additional quotes:

Shirley Knodel, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care at Regional West Medical Center said the medical center is pleased to have UNMC share its campus. “We already partner on research projects and many of our nurses are graduates of UNMC so the faculty feels like part of our family. Their presence is a chance for Regional West Medical Center to benefit from the expertise of the faculty in the areas of education, research and simulation. We hope being located on our main campus offers the faculty opportunity to also benefit from more frequent interactions with staff and students during clinical experiences. We have invited the faculty to attend hospital nursing meetings in order to hear about evolving practices and technologies and to do mutual brainstorming to improve the practice of nursing. We see this as a win-win for UNMC and RWMC.”

Melaney Thomas, WNCC nursing program director, said for current and prospective nursing students, the partnership provides accessibility to both the WNCC and UNMC advisors and support at the same location. “The partnership with UNMC is exciting, Thomas said. “Our nursing faculty are looking forward to working more closely with UNMC faculty as we explore the potential for increasing learning experiences for nursing students in all of our programs.”




Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190