River Valley Community College (RVCC) in Claremont is developing a licensed practical nurse (LPN) program to help with needs of the state's medical community. College officials hope to launch the program and begin enrolling students for the semester in January 2020. Once launched, the program will also be available at Lakes Region Community College and possibly other NH community colleges in the future, depending on student demand and employment opportunities. A grant from the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs helped to fund program development.
The program being designed is for those who want to work while taking classes. Another objective is to help students complete the program as quickly as possible so they can begin their nursing career. Students will have the option to complete the coursework in as little as three semesters, or they may take longer depending on their schedules.
“LPNs have always been a crucial part of the health care team and their roles have shifted over the years. With a significant shortage at all levels of nursing, we see a greater growing demand for a focused LPN program that can put skilled health care workers into the workforce quickly,” said Dr. Eileen Glover, the LPN program director and professor of nursing at RVCC.
Glover designed the program based on her past experience and understanding that quality care is multifaceted and often requires a team approach. A psychiatric nurse by training, Glover’s experience ranges from bedside care to serving as a chief nursing officer. “People must recognize the fact that health care professionals need to be a part of a multi-skilled, multidisciplinary team in order to get the best results for patients. LPNs have much to contribute to healthcare teams,” she said.
Prior to fa formal launch, RVCC will seek approval through the NH Board of Nursing and the national Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The first step is gaining preliminary, conditional approval. Once conditional approval is granted, RVCC can begin accepting students. The first class is capped at 32 students and will initially be offered at RVCC’s Keene and Lebanon academic centers.
“We are excited about this program’s potential to provide facilities such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) with trained workers,” said Michelle Buck, vice president of inpatient nursing at DHMC. “LPNs are needed for in-patient work and are in a great position to continue their education and help further develop clinical skills to practice for RN license if they choose to do so.”
Pictured above: River Valley Community College seniors Nicholas Blanchard and Natasha Tkal use the simulation lab to practice patient care.