Godfrey, Ill. - Lewis and Clark Community College’s School of Nursing has been awarded a $309,441 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as part of the Recovery Act in an effort to increase the number of registered nurses.

This grant has been used to establish a Registered Nurse Bridge program at Lewis and Clark that takes students who have achieved their licensed practical nurse certificate to complete their Associate Degree in Nursing. At the completion of this one-year bridge program students graduate as registered nurses (RN).

“With the nation facing a shortage of nurses, this grant is allowing Lewis and Clark another opportunity to increase the number of nurses in the workforce,” said Dean of Health Science Donna Meyer. “Lewis and Clark is doing everything we can – from expanding facilities to increase the size of our nursing program to marketing the field of nursing as an excellent career choice – to address the nursing shortage. Nursing is a profession that offers a tremendous amount of employment opportunities right now, which also means that this grant-funded program is helping us put our community residents to work.”

The grant funds are being used to cover the cost of the program for students, increase faculty support for this program and providing individual monitoring time for the students with a learning specialist to increase the rate of success for the students enrolled. The grant has also allowed Lewis and Clark to re-assign one of its full-time nursing faculty members to ensure student success in this program.

“I am pleased to be a part of this program, helping students achieve their associates degree in nursing, and advancing them into successful careers as RNs,” said Dawna Egelhoff, L&C Nursing faculty member and coordinator of the Registered Nurse Bridge program. “Not only does this program provide a fantastic opportunity for the students, but it is also increasing the skill level of our area workforce by providing more qualified nurses for our area hospitals and health service agencies.”

Lewis and Clark Community College currently has 16 students enrolled in the program. These students come from an array of nursing services including skilled nursing units, acute medical, home health, assisted living, physician office and mental health.

“We are very appreciative of the support from DCEO for this project,” Meyer said. “It is imperative that nurses continue to advance their education, especially with the advent of healthcare reform. Healthcare is changing and nurses can play a fundamental role in this transformation.

This grant supports the advancement of education for licensed practical nurses in our community to take the next step in the nursing profession. The financial and learning resource support that this grant provides to the LPN bridge students of Lewis and Clark Community College will truly assist in student success.”

For more information about the bridge program, contact Meyer at (618) 468-4400 or Egelhoff at (618) 468-4451.

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