BY BETSY LABELLE
The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved more space for the NRI Institute of Health Sciences on Thursday, Dec. 21.
The NRI Institute is a nursing school situated in a corner nook in the Royal Plaza shopping center at the northeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Southern boulevards.
“We first appeared here five and a half years ago when we first proposed bringing the school to Royal Palm Beach,” owner Dan Splain explained. “Since we opened and started the first class in February 2013, we’ve now graduated approximately 50 nurses.”
The council approved the expansion of the classroom space from 7,500 square feet to 8,192 square feet, granting a special exception use approval to allow a “public or private academic institution” to be located in the existing shopping center. The total student population will be limited to 200.
“We have opened an Associate of Science and Nursing Program. We also have an Associate of Science and Diagnostic Medical Stenography,” Splain said. “These are both critical occupations in the healthcare industry. In fact, with nursing today, there is a shortage, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, of approximately 1 million registered nurses in the United States.”
The NRI Institute of Health Sciences also sought to modify a council-imposed condition for a previously approved “business, trade or vocational school” and to allow the use to expand into portions of Building 3A, directly west of the current location.
“The shortage of registered nurses is being felt throughout the country,” Splain said. “There are now problems with the nursing homes here in South Florida in obtaining adequate registered nursing staff. So, it is critical that this school, and many others like it throughout the county, be able to educate those people who wish to become registered nurses. Most schools have waiting lists because there are not a sufficient number of schools in the United States.”
Next on the expansion process for the school is a request to the state.
“In 2018, we will be applying with the State Department of Education and the State Board of Nursing to expand and include a Bachelor of Science and Nursing program, and at that point we will become a four-year college,” Splain said. “Royal Palm Beach has been a great place to be in business and to educate people. Hopefully, we will be educating students in the new space commencing Jan. 16, 2018, which is when our next term will begin.”
The school offers a day program and an evening program, and it is looking into having a weekend program as well.
The NRI Institute of Health Sciences is located at 500 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza shopping center. For more information, visit www.nriinstitute.edu.