Practical Nursing Program Proposed at Penn College North Campus

Published 07.25.2003


In an effort to resolve the critical nursing shortage in the Northern Tier counties, Pennsylvania College of Technology is seeking approval from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing to offer a Practical Nursing Program at its North Campus near Wellsboro beginning later this year.

The initial approval for the program has been received, and, on Aug. 20, a representative from the Board of Nursing will survey the classroom, nursing lab and clinical facilities as a prelude to students being accepted into the program.

The proposed 12-month vocational program will be scheduled Monday through Thursday for students who choose to work part-time while attending school. Clinical experiences will take place at Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital and The Green Home, Wellsboro, as well as other area health-care sites. Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the Practical Nursing National Council Licensure Exam for full licensure as a licensed practical nurse.

Representatives from Penn College have been meeting with representatives of Laurel Health System since October to develop the program.

"The pilot LPN nursing program will help address the nursing-workforce shortage we are currently experiencing in our services and programs and will assist Laurel Health System in fulfilling its mission to provide excellent services and improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve," said Ronald J. Butler, president and chief executive officer of Laurel Health Services.

A countywide survey of health-care administrators has documented an immediate need for LPNs, with few qualified applicants available for the positions. Tioga County employers estimate they will need 55 LPNs by 2008. LPNs are needed in hospitals, long-term care centers, home health and hospice, human-service agencies, and numerous clinics and outpatient centers.

?The proposed Practical-Nursing Program at the North Campus responds to a critical workforce need in the community,? said Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour. ?We are delighted to be able to work with Laurel Health System and the area health-care facilities to train students for these important positions.?

Tentative plans call for the enrollment of 15 students annually, with the program continuing as long as the need for LPNs exists.

"Plans are under way to hire a full-time nursing coordinator/instructor in order to assure the quality of curriculum and instruction that is necessary for our graduates to thrive in the health-care workplace of the future," said Brenda G. Abplanalp, director of North Campus outreach services, who is responsible for development the program.

The full-year program will cost approximately $10,000 and is open to high-school graduates who meet the admission requirements. The requirements are: satisfactory performance on the pre-entrance exam, evidence of good mental and physical health, two letters of reference, a satisfactory criminal-background check and an interview with the program coordinator.

For more information about the proposed Practical Nursing Program at the North Campus, call (570) 724-7703.

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