Nursing program closer to approval

CCC gets initial OK to teach licensed practical nursing

Carroll County

April 03, 2001|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Carroll Community College has received initial approval from the Maryland Board of Nursing to offer a licensed practical nursing program beginning this fall.

The nursing board's approval is a step toward a registered nursing program at the Westminster campus. The Maryland Higher Education Commission approved the licensed practical nurse program last month.

"Approval by the nursing board is a huge step toward getting the registered nurse program started," said Nancy Perry, recently hired as the college's practical nursing program coordinator.

The RN program cannot be offered until a specialized building is constructed to teach advanced nursing classes. College officials hope to get money this fiscal year to start design plans so the Allied Health and Nursing Building can be opened by fall 2003.

College officials want to offer residents the RN program so students won't have to complete courses outside the county, and to help ease a nursing shortage. The nursing board gives initial approval to new schools of nursing, Perry said, but full approval doesn't occur until after the school's first LPN class graduates and 90 percent have passed a national licensing exam.

"The nursing board looks at the curriculum and makes sure it falls within the legal limits of the LPN," Perry said. "The board looks at the appropriate and right kind of experiences and topics being offered."

LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician and are the basic bedside nurse. LPNs cannot provide specialized treatment, such as giving intravenous or regular injection, and can't assume management or teaching jobs, Perry said.

The Carroll Community College program consists of five prerequisites, then three semesters of clinical work at a long-term care facility, she said.

Students "have to take English 101, anatomy and physiology I and II, microbiology, and human growth and development, and pass them with a C or above," she said. "Then they start the clinical portion, though the sites haven't been finalized yet."

The college usually looks at facilities such as Westminster Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Carroll Lutheran Village and Carroll County General Hospital's geriatric unit, she said. Other possible sites for clinical work in the county are Fairhaven, Copper Ridge and Springfield Hospital Center.

It usually takes students two years and a summer to complete the required work, Perry said. Some students are taking their prerequisites through an affiliation with Catonsville Community College, and Perry hopes to have at least 24 students enrolled in the program this fall.

Students taking the basics now would finish their clinicals at the end of summer 2002.

Perry said the college is putting together a program brochure, will advertise and probably recruit at Carroll schools.

Alan Schuman, executive vice president of administration at the college, said CCC officials met with the county commissioners two weeks ago for their budget meeting and continued their push for funding for the new building.

"The commissioners advised us we still had their support and they were trying to find funds for the design process in the fiscal 2002 budget," Schuman said. "They didn't confirm any funding at this point, but we're optimistic. The commissioners are looking for county and state resources."

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