NTCC nursing students to continue studies in Southeastern's ‘Connect to Success’
Thursday, December 18, 2014
by: Rene Abadie
ACCELERATED NURSING PROGRAM – The first four participants in the Northshore Technical Community College Practical Nursing Connection, a partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing, talk to their dean, Michele Lyons, center. Pictured, from left, are Jennifer Cockerham, Robin Smith Muse, Joyce Vargas and Jackie Lambert.
HAMMOND -- Four Northshore Technical Community College students completing their studies this week represent the first cohort of the college's Practical Nursing Connection program.
The practical nursing students completed an accelerated program located on Southeastern's campus and are planning to continue their studies next year at Southeastern Louisiana University to gain their registered nurse status.
The Practical Nursing Connection is the latest addition to the Connect to Success program sponsored jointly by NTCC and Southeastern. The original partnership was initiated two years ago by NTCC and the university to assist students who had not qualified to enter the university and prepare for further studies.
"These are individuals who want to enter the nursing profession, but did were not accepted to Southeastern's nursing programs for a variety of reasons," explained Michele Lyons, dean of Health Sciences and Nursing at NTCC. "These partnerships were developed to meet the needs of our students."
Under this program, once the students graduate, they will be qualified to take the NCLE-PN exam in January, which allows them to be licensed as practical nurses, Lyons explained.
The four students – Robin Smith-Muse of Montpelier, Jackie Lambert of Mandeville, Joyce Vargas of Springfield, and Jennifer Cockerham of Watson – spent the past year attending NTCC classes on the Southeastern campus and are earning an associate of general studies degree with a concentration in practical nursing.
In addition to basic nursing classes, they earned their general education credits in math, English and other areas to qualify for Southeastern's School of Nursing. The students did their clinical course work at North Oaks Health System and Post-Acute Specialty Hospital, both in Hammond, and expect to enter the Southeastern program next fall.
"We're looking forward to adding these students to our program next year," said Eileen Creel, head of the Southeastern School of Nursing. "They are so eager to earn their bachelor's degrees. The year they've spent in the Practical Nursing Connection program has allowed them to progress well academically and prepare them for their university curriculum."
In Connect to Success and Practical Nursing Connection, the NTCC students take courses on the Southeastern campus and enjoy access to the university library and other Southeastern programs and activities.
Joyce Vargas always wanted to be a nurse and looks forward to earning her bachelor's degree and even possibly attending graduate school in the future.
"This is making that possible, even if I won't be a registered nurse immediately," she said. "The program has been great – our credits transfer easily to Southeastern, and there's no guesswork about courses we need to take."
Connect to Success currently has approximately 450 students enrolled in various programs to prepare them for university studies.