For nearly three decades, the Galen College of Nursing has produced more than 11,000 registered nurses as one of the largest private nursing colleges in the U.S. 

Humana Health Institutes first established Galen in 1989 with its original three campuses in Louisville, San Antonio and Tampa Bay. The Cincinnati campus was the last campus to be established in 2007, and currently has 400 undergraduate students with a rising number of enrollments each year. Melisa Lepard, previous program director, just recently stepped up as the new dean for the Cincinnati campus about two months ago. “This location gives us great applicants,” she says, “Most of our students come here with initial degrees but always wanted to be nurses.” 

The idea behind Galen College was first developed due to the predicted shortage of nurses in the future, which is not just a concern but also an ongoing reality. The Health Resources and Service Administration estimates a shortage of registered nurses in 2025 and years to follow. The main cause for the demand of health providers today is due to aging Baby Boomers. Thanks to the high volume of this generation, people are experiencing more conditions requiring care and therefore requiring nurses. Currently the nursing profession makes up the largest portion of the health care workforce with around 3 million RNs; however 3 million is still not matching the demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects over a million job openings for RNs by 2022. 

“The shortage has just suddenly hit Cincinnati and we’ve begun to see changes in the last six months,” adds Lepard. These changes include a 50 percent increase in hospital attendance at Galen’s most recent job fair this past July, where 15 local hospitals came to recruit. “We’ve seen recent changes in employment opportunities and employers are very satisfied with our graduates,” Lepard says. 

With the increasing pressure to produce more registered nurses, the pressure also increased for the Cincinnati Galen campus to get accredited. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredited the Cincinnati campus for its nursing associate degree on Aug. 3. Programmatic accreditation is a huge step for the Cincinnati campus and is another factor in its growing enrollment. Accreditation is a voluntary status that shows the public that a school has met and is maintaining high standards. 

“It says a lot about our program and what we offer,” Lepard explains, “Our big strength is how much we invest in our resources for our students.” The Cincinnati Galen campus had been looking at getting accredited for over three years; the process included three site visitors that spent three days verifying Galen’s standards, as well as being approved by two panel boards before being granted accreditation, which now benefits the students as well as the school. 

Accreditation gives Galen the opportunity to partner with more hospitals for clinical sites such as TriHealth, Good Samaritan and Mercy Hospital. This approval now allows Galen graduates to be best prepared in this soaring profession.