MYRTLE BEACH S.C. (WBTW) — The Galen College of Nursing welcomed its first round of students in March, and Grand Strand Health is hoping it can retain some nurses in the area.

Nursing student Michael Jeffers is gracing the halls of the college for the first time, and although it’s not time for him to utilize the labs, he’s excited for what the future holds.

“I’ve been out of school 15 years, so coming back, it’s really nice that the educators with Galen are so in touch with the students,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like I’m attending class online because I have such great access to my professors.”

Jeffers said he was born and raised in Myrtle Beach and plans to stay in the area after graduation, something the chief nursing officer for Grand Strand Health was hoping would happen with Galen’s program.

“As a community member myself, my hope is that we’re building the workforce across the Grand Strand for all of our local facilities,” Tiffany Keys said. “We all have need of nursing.

The leaders at Galen College of Nursing said they intend to create a workforce pipeline.

“Our goal is to recruit students into that campus to create a nice little flow of new graduate nurses into the health care workforce,” Dr. Audria Denker, executive vice president of nursing at Galen College of Nursing, said.

Keys said there are 53 students enrolled in the college, and another cohort will start on July 5. Currently, about 30 students are enrolled.