Individuals interested in pursuing a University of Nebraska Medical Center degree in radiography can now get their start at Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC). And soon they’ll be able to receive the rest of their education and training for that UNMC degree in North Platte, at Great Plains Health.
A new agreement between MPCC and UNMC will allow Mid-Plains students to complete 26 credit hours that are eligible for transfer to the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions’ radiography program, should they be accepted.
UNMC coursework for the 21-month professional curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in medical imaging and therapeutic sciences will be completed onsite at Great Plains Health via distance education technology. UNMC expects to enroll its first group of radiography students for the North Platte program site in the fall of 2021.
Tammy Webster, PhD, UNMC’s radiography program director, said the College of Allied Health Professions is excited about these partnerships, which will allow these future radiographers to serve North Platte and its surrounding communities while remaining closer to their hometowns. “We are now accepting applications for this inaugural class,” Dr. Webster said.
Prior to these agreements, students interested in pursuing radiography had to go directly to the eastern end of the state for instruction.
“These partnerships support our mission to provide exemplar educational opportunities across the state, while helping fill Nebraska’s health care workforce needs,” Dr. Webster said.
Employment of radiographers in both MPCC’s service area and throughout Nebraska is expected to increase at a rate faster than the national average over the next decade. That’s due to an aging population that will need additional medical imaging as well as the anticipated retirement of many existing radiographers.
There were 93 radiography-related jobs in MPCC’s 18-county service area in 2019, the most recent full year for which data is available, according to labor market analytics firm Emsi.
“The idea began as a desire to help Great Plains Health secure more radiographers,” said Jody Tomanek, PhD, MPCC area vice president of academic affairs and North Platte Community College. “In addition to filling a need in the community, this agreement adds to our existing partnerships with GP Health and the Med Center. It’s always my goal to provide opportunities for students, and this is just another opportunity for students in our area to start here then transfer on.”
Fiona Libsack, Great Plains Health chief development officer, said: “Giving local students the opportunity to grow in medical professions without having to leave the community is the best strategy for ensuring that our region’s hospitals have the professionals they need to serve area patients with quality care.”
The MPCC-UNMC agreement provides a roadmap for prospective students to complete both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in approximately three years.