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Dominican University will begin welcoming additional students to its nursing program as the regional demand for new nurses grows.

A second cohort of students studying for their Bachelor of Science in Nursing has been added to the Elizabeth T. MacNeil School of Nursing for the spring 2024 semester. The goal is to welcome 24 new juniors to the existing cohort of just over 60 students enrolled in the fall.

The addition is part of efforts to grow Dominican’s nursing program and graduate a diverse group of much-needed nurses, said Dr. Tamara Bland, dean of Dominican University’s Borra College of Health Sciences.

“Because there is an increased demand for nurses in the Chicago area, we are hoping this cohort will help bridge that gap,” she said.

The new cohort will provide an opportunity for both legacy and transfer students who are unable to begin their studies in the fall to enroll without waiting another year.

“Being able to contribute to growing the number of nurses in a meaningful, impactful way— by giving students a way to start nursing school in a nontraditional way — grants them the opportunity to meet their goals to become a nurse and access the workforce,” Bland explained. “We are trying to connect students with the profession as soon as possible. And this new cohort does that.”

The majority of Dominican nursing students receive job offers even before taking their licensing exam, she noted.

Additional faculty will be added to accommodate the increased enrollment.

The start of the new nursing cohort in January 2024 will coincide with the launch of a Dedicated Education Unit at Rush Oak Park Hospital in partnership between the hospital and Dominican University. The DEU will provide clinical nursing training opportunities in a 39-bed, medical-surgical unit of the hospital, with students acting as peer educators under the guidance of Rush clinical instructors.

Established in 2014, Dominican’s nursing program was awarded the 2022 Lectureship Award for Diversity Equity, Inclusion and Sustainability in Nursing Education from the American Association of Colleges and Nursing.

The school is part of Dominican’s Borra College of Health Sciences, which also offers academic programs in health and wellness, nutrition and dietetics, physician assistant studies and medical science.

For more information on Dominican University’s Bachelor of Nursing degree program,