College nursing program in danger of closing if director, instructors not found
|Monna Walters instructs students in Adult Nursing II in what could be the last class unless a director and instructors are found. Photos by Jordan Clary|
|The nursing program is at full enrollment but it lacks staff. Lassen Community College is asking nurses in the community to help sustain the program.|
Feb. 26, 2013 — Lassen Community College’s (LCC) nursing program has been a lifeline for many men and women, not just in Lassen County but elsewhere in California and northern Nevada as well.
The Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) 12-month program trains its graduates for an employable profession and is the only program of its kind in this region.
But the program, which began in the late 1970s, may be closing its doors due to lack of a director and the need for more instructors.
According to Sue Mouck, executive vice-president of academic services, a decision will be made March 15 to determine the future of the program.
“The existing staff have done everything they could to sustain this program,” said Mouck, “and they need help. The two components of staff that we must have is, first, a qualified director to be in charge of the program. They have to meet the qualifications of the Board of Vocational Nursing. And we need to have qualified instructors — those who can do the lecture portion of the program, plus clinical.”
Dr. Marlon Hall, LCC president concurs that staffing for the nursing program is at a crucial point.
“In order to have a quality program we have to have quality individuals to keep the program moving forward,” he said. “We need a director and we need faculty.”
The college is asking community members in the nursing profession, who may be qualified to teach, to come forward.
Monna Walters, current director of the nursing program, said they are hoping to form a core of 10 to 12 nurses willing to commit to two to three days a month.
“I’m not asking for someone to give up their job or even make a full-time commitment,” said Walters. “If they can commit to the equivalent of two to three short shifts, we can work around them.”
The commitment will, hopefully, begin late May and is primarily for clinical, which includes evaluations and a small amount of prep time.
The qualifications are he or she needs to be a licensed nurse in California; needs to be an RN or LVN; needs to have worked a minimum of five years as a nurse, at least two of them within the last five years; and he or she must have a minimum of an associates degree.
Applicants will also need to complete a course in teaching. If there is enough interest, LCC will offer ED1: Tools for Learning, which fulfills the teaching requirement and is also affordable at community college rates. Online courses are also available though various universities although the price is probably higher than LCC.
The director, for whom the college has launched a nationwide search, needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing and has to have taught in an accredited nursing program for at least one year. They are also looking for someone who is licensed in both California and Nevada.
Hall, Mouck and Walters all stressed the importance of the program for the community. Walters said approximately 90 percent of nurses in Lassen County have been through the program.
She said, “For the health care of our community and all of Northeastern California, it (the nursing program) is vital.”
The program is currently at full enrollment, and there’s been a waiting list for every class for the past several years.
“We have great clinical sites,” said Walters. “We have a very supportive administration. The college foundation has given us quite a bit of money to buy new equipment and we’ve updated almost all of it. We have state-of-the-art simulation mannequins. They get a good training.”
But the question remains whether they will find enough staff to keep the program thriving.
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