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Student with scissors cutting ribbon

Pikeville, KY —On Friday, representatives from Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) and Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open a new, modern facility that will accommodate students enrolled in Big Sandy’s nursing program. The 8,178 square foot space inside PMC’s Health and Wellbeing Learning Center is conveniently located within walking distance of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College Pikeville Campus. 


In late 2020, PMC announced its partnership with BSCTC to create a space that houses offices, student study rooms, lecture rooms and clinical simulation areas featuring the latest technology. The furniture and equipment in the new facility were provided by a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant awarded to PMC to further training opportunities for post-secondary students pursuing careers in healthcare. 


“Our region has a critical need for nurses, as does our state and country,” explained PMC President & CEO Donovan Blackburn. “By 2024, Kentucky is projected to need 16,000 nurses. That is why this project is so important to both PMC and Big Sandy. We have to act now to begin training future nurses, and this is definitely a step we needed to make.” 


Big Sandy Community and Technical College offers a two-year nursing program. Students who successfully complete the first year will receive a diploma qualifying them to apply for licensure as a Practical Nurse. After successful completion of the second-year, students will receive the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing, qualifying them to apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse. The Academic Career Mobility Program provides a seamless education in nursing with two exit points, allowing students to choose a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or both.


BSCTC Acting President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Denise King shared her thoughts about the partnership, “Mr. Blackburn and I have spoken at length about this project many times. We believe in the creation of shared physical space to more formally bridge the gap between our college and the hospital. We have also approached the academic calendar with the determination to meet the urgent demand for healthcare professionals. With great pride, we see the solution in action as nursing cohorts are moving directly from the classroom to patients’ rooms. With BSCTC’s rich legacy of graduating excellent nurses, we have invested in a partnership that will sustain our mountain communities by increasing healthcare while increasing educational opportunities for eastern Kentuckians.”


Pikeville Medical Center is 348-bed regional referral center and Kentucky’s only Level II trauma center. PMC offers over 400 services, including every major specialty and many subspecialties, and features the region’s most advanced medical technology. PMC employs nearly 3,000 people and has nearly 400 credentialed healthcare providers. PMC’s mission is to advance the health and well-being of our region through comprehensive care in a Christian environment. For more information, please visit