According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing field is expected to see a 16% increase in employment by the year 2024.

With a demand in the nursing field that is growing at a faster rate than the average for other occupations, it is important that those interested in pursuing nursing have every opportunity to receive the proper education.

Nursing ABC exists to help nursing students start their education, via an online format that is both affordable and flexible to the student’s needs.

Dr. Ken Hartman, professor of organic chemistry at Geneva College, started the idea of Nursing ABC nearly 45 years ago when he was approached by Jameson Hospital School of Nursing in New Castle to develop a program to assist students who were deficient in the required high school prerequisites needed for nursing school. Dr. Hartman began by offering chemistry and soon added algebra and biology to his curriculum.

The program grew over the years and by 2002, Nursing ABC was established and began offering their curriculum by distance-learning methods. In 2005, the entire program was accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Secondary Schools. In the past 10 years, the number of faculty has doubled and student enrollment has tripled.

“I believe that there are a number of factors that contribute to our success, but at the core of what we do is the belief that we are called to treat others the way we would like to be treated. Nursing ABC started as a family business, and it continues to operate under those principles. We make every attempt to empower each of the faculty and staff and to fully trust them to carry out our mission to treat everyone we contact in the way we’d like to be treated, from our vendors, to students, colleagues, and contacts at schools,” explains Steve Michalik, Vice-President, Nursing ABC and Portage Learning.

Currently, Nursing ABC offers Basic Lab Biology, Basic Lab Chemistry, Basic Verbal Skills, Basic Math Concepts, Basic Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Intro to College Math, and Basic Geometry. All courses satisfy the entrance requirements for high school prerequisites needed for health profession schools.

In addition to high-school level courses, Nursing ABC began offering college-level courses in 2011 through Portage Learning, due to more programs requiring college courses as prerequisites. This program offers a number of 100-level college courses in the fields of science, math, psychology and sociology.

The majority of Nursing ABC students are “non-traditional” (25-40+), and have completed some post-high school education or even have college degrees (it’s very easy to sign up for something like Aventis part time degree courses and, at your own pace, get a unregistered, and even registered, nursing license). Often times more schooling is needed, and that’s where Nursing ABC comes in.

All courses are taught online by an experienced staff, which mean that students can learn at their own pace and the cost is much more affordable than a tradition school. Students can register and complete their studies at any time throughout the year, and aren’t locked into a traditional school year schedule. On average, students complete a course in 8-12 weeks time.

And while Nursing ABC has no formal relationship with any health professions schools, a list of more than fifty schools throughout PA, OH, NY, NJ and beyond are provided on their website in which applicants have used Nursing ABC courses to satisfy entrance prerequisites. (Nursing ABC does recommend all students confirm the course will be accepted by the school they are applying.)

What started with just one teacher and a few students in a classroom, is now an online, accredited school helping hundreds of student start a career path in nursing. And as it was from the beginning, it’s operating here in Beaver County.

“Beaver County is home to most of our faculty and staff. We enjoy living and working here and there’s a unique multi-generational heritage that strengthens the fabric of our communities and provides an excellent environment for raising a family. This compels us to be good neighbors.” said Michalik.

“We host meetings and events in local restaurants, cafes, and conference spaces. We purchase Christmas gifts for employees and partner schools from local businesses. We also encourage and create space for our faculty and staff to spend time with their families and to invest in our communities. If we are experiencing growth and good things are happening in our business, it’s our desire that the overflow of this benefits our communities as well.”

Lauren Walker
Lauren Walker was born and raised in Pittsburgh and became a resident of Beaver County through marriage. She now lives in Beaver with her husband, three kids and little dog. She is an optimistic Pirates fan, decent church softball player, and digs an organized closet.