CWC’s Nursing Program is #1 among all colleges in Wyoming

CWC’s Nursing Program is #1 among all colleges in Wyoming

Two CWC Nursing Student practicing nursing on a faux patient

Courtesy of WyoTodayMedia 

It’s official: Central Wyoming College’s (CWC) nursing program is the best in the state.

That’s according to, an organization that weighs nursing programs using several metrix, including the NCLEX-RN pass rates — the percentage of students who pass the RN licensing exams. CWC blew past the competition, earning a score of 92.09. The organization noted CWC’s experienced nursing faculty, as well as the quality of the college’s hands-on, team-based, and active learning models.

Quality nursing programs are in high demand. It’s a great career — the mean nursing salary in Wyoming is at just over $73,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — and nurses are in demand in every health care setting imaginable.

“Right now, in our current state of health care, nurses are one of the most in-demand professions,” explained Dr. Kathy Wells, CWC VP for Academic Affairs, who also formerly directed CWC’s nursing program. “Once you complete your initial nursing education and you pass the licensing exam, so you’re considered an RN, which is what our program gives, that license is the initial ticket to wherever you want nursing to take you … It’s the ticket to continuing education, it’s the ticket to advanced degrees, it’s the ticket to so many different roles in nursing, pretty much anywhere you want to go.”

portrait of Kathy Wells

One of the things that really sets CWC’s program apart from the rest and contributes to student success is its team-based approach to learning. “Not only is that best practice for how adults learn, but it also mimics their role as a member of a health care team,” Wells said. “Whether in a hospital role, long-term care, or even just visiting their doctor, health care is delivered as part of a team, and nurses are very important as the core of that team. The program really emulates that.”

Each nursing student is also paired with their own nursing faculty member, who can serve as a mentor, someone to consult when things get tough. “Those meetings, check-ins, mentoring sessions I think are key in the students feeling that they have an advocate,” Wells shared. CWC Nursing Director and Professor of Nursing, Dr. Stacey Stanek, said the effect of those mentor relationships is strongly evident in the success of students by every measure. “I know from standardized test scores that CWC nursing students perform exceedingly well against students in small community colleges and major universities across the country,” Stanek explained.

Not only do students have the chance to practice real-world medicine at CWC’s state-of-the-art simulation laboratory, they also become skilled at patient care through real world clinicals at neighboring health care facilities. From long-term care to hospital settings to public health offices, CWC students gain experience with clinicals in health care settings across Fremont, Hot Springs, and Teton counties.