RCTC to Expand Practical Nursing Program

In response to growing healthcare industry needs, Rochester Community and Technical College is excited to announce the expansion of its practical nursing program in the spring of 2019.  Working with partners including Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, and other nursing and care facilities, RCTC determined additional graduates are necessary to meet the growing demand for practical nurses. This program expansion is on top of the 25% increase in admitted students that began in the fall of 2017.

RCTC currently runs one practical nursing (PN) cohort per year that begins in the fall. The expansion will add a January-start group in 2019 and 2021, bringing an additional 100 potential PN graduates into the workforce. RCTC’s 10-month diploma program offers students an opportunity to pursue an in-demand healthcare career within a year.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are at the forefront of patient care, promoting wellness and providing assistance for sick, injured, disabled or elderly patients in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Specific job duties include monitoring patient vital signs, dressing wounds, administering medications, and reinforcing patient education.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for LPNs will grow by 16% between now and 2024 compared to the average job growth of 7%. On a national level, the Department of Health and Human Services projects a national shortage of approximately 151,500 LPNs by 2030.

Susan Jansen, MS, RN, CNE, RCTC’s Associate Dean of Nursing, said “RCTC is proud to offer additional practical nursing cohorts.  Together with our community healthcare providers, our nursing advisory board has identified the Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN as a critical care need in our community.  The diploma in practical nursing leads to meaningful careers and a livable wage for families.  Strong families lead to strong communities.”

Upon completion of necessary coursework, PN students will take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which upon passing designates PN students as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN).  RCTC’s NCLEX-PN pass rates have been consistently above the national average.

This program expansion is made possible through an innovative public-private partnership between RCTC and Mayo Clinic.  RCTC’s faculty meet the governing organizations requirements of master’s preparation in nursing education. Mayo Clinic master’s prepared nurses will provide the additional clinical support needed for the increased cohorts through a joint appointment faculty program.

“The need for licensed practical nurses is growing stronger, both in our community and across the country,” says Sherry Chesak, Program Director for Nursing Academic Affairs, Mayo Clinic. “Their skills are used in many patient care settings—clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes to name a few. It is a lifelong career and, at Mayo Clinic, LPNS are integral members of the healthcare team. We are pleased to be working with RCTC to expand their program and increase the number of LPNs serving our community.”

RCTC’s PN program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).

Students interested in learning more about RCTC’s practical nursing program should visit the program’s website at www.rctc.edu/program/pnm.  Students wishing to seek admission to the program should contact Jennifer Dahle, the PN academic advisor, at 507-280-3535.  For further additional information, please contact Susan Jansen, MS, RN, CNE, Associate Dean of Nursing at 507-285-7143.

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