Albany -- Albany State University and Darton College have signed an agreement to coordinate three of their programs, so students will have no problem as they advance in their education.
Wendy Pate is in her first semester in the Nursing Program at Darton College. " I just really love the operating room. Love the medical field. And love the patients," she said.
Pate plans to continue her nursing education toward her goal of earning her four year Bachelor's Degree, but needs to stay with her family at their home in Albany while doing it. Today Darton College and Albany State University's Presidents signed a agreement that the two schools will work together to make sure Wendy can accomplish her goal.
The school's Nursing, Forensic Science,and Military Science Program students will have no trouble advancing toward their degree through the two schools, because their graduates are needed.
Darton College Nursing Program Chairperson Dr. Kim Cribb said, " A lot of the nurses traditionally covering those roles are getting older. They are retiring or going part time. People are living longer. There is a desperate need for nurses."
The nursing program at Darton has seen a 170 percent increase in enrollment in the last six years. By making sure these students can finish their education in South Georgia, the community is hoping they will begin their careers here.
Albany State University Nursing Program Chairperson Dr. Linda Grimsley said, "It's a real good boost to the hospitals. Because we find if the students leave the area and move to another area, such as Augusta or Atlanta, to finish their degree, they tend to stay in that area."
Wendy Pate says she plans to take advantage of the Darton-Albany State agreement to further her nursing goals.
"I'm probably going to work a couple of years, but just the fact that Albany State has that opportunity for me, in order to continue on with my education," Pate said.
A good situation for South Georgia students, as Albany State and Darton coordinate their educational opportunities.
Darton College officials say their nursing graduates with a two year associates of science degree are in high demand, with starting salaries between $40,000 to $70,000 a year. Most start work while continuing their education toward Bachelor's or Masters Degrees.