By Eugenia Jones
Somerset Community College (SCC) has expanded its Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program in McCreary County, KY and Scott County TN in response to the nursing shortage happening both regionally and across the states.
At SCC’s McCreary Center, nearly 5,000 square feet of space on the second floor is currently being transformed into an innovative learning center for nursing. When the project is completed in late fall, the campus will have a dedicated nursing skills lab with six hospital beds and manikins, a dedicated laboratory with state-of-the-art patient simulators, meeting areas, faculty offices and storage. SCC is currently working on the application process and hiring teachers for the McCreary and Scott County programs.
“The skills lab will be a safe place to make mistakes and learn,” ADN Program Coordinator Billie Duvall explained. “In addition to regular instruction and feedback, we will also video as groups of students are working with simulators. Students in the group will then watch the videos and evaluate their own performances.”
The McCreary Center program is a bridge program providing a three semester (day) pathway for LPNs to obtain their associate nursing degrees. In the spring (January), both programs will begin with a cohort of 25 students. Over time, the College hopes to expand the cohort and faculty at SCC to further support workforce needs.
In order to secure seats in the program, candidates must meet two prerequisites. First, candidates must be LPNs with unencumbered, unrestricted licenses. Secondly, candidates must have already fulfilled their general education requirements.
Due to SCC’s partnerships with surrounding universities, students from the McCreary Center will be able to easily transfer their credits on towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing after graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from SCC.
SCC’s nursing program is fully accredited. Each year, more than 95% of SCC’s nursing students pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®). This exam is the same national licensing exam that is required by all registered professional nurses.
“We offer both a professional and personal touch in our nursing program,” Duvall stated. “We get close to our students because the nursing program can be stressful. The transition from LPN to RN can be overwhelming, so we make sure we steer our students to the resources they need.”
Funding for this program was made possible through an ARC grant in partnership with the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) at Jacksboro and Oneida/Huntsville for a partnership they established, along with Somerset Community College, to address workforce needs in eight economically distressed counties in the two-state region.
“I just hope everybody is as excited as I am to have this opportunity in McCreary County,” Duvall exclaimed. “It’s a win-win for all involved.”