PRCC looks to address healthcare shortage with expanded nursing program opportunities

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ADN student adjusts an IV Infusion Pump while instructor and other students observe at PRCC

Nursing is a high demand field and Pearl River Community College is doing its part to help meet the needs of local communities. The college is expanding offerings for more students to complete an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) on both the Forrest County and Poplarville campuses. The Practical Nursing (LPN) program has also been expanded by 30 students. 

A survey conducted earlier this year by the Mississippi Hospital Association put the shortage of nurses in the state at more than 3,000. Within the districts served by PRCC, there are hundreds of openings for Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs.)  

“Pearl River Community College is committed to meeting the needs of healthcare in our community,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs. “There is a critical need for nurses, and we will do all we can to provide the most qualified healthcare professionals to meet this need.  

“We are working with local healthcare providers to understand their needs, and we are hiring experienced and talented faculty to produce skilled nurses who are compassionate and caring about serving others.” 

EXPANDING THE ADN PROGRAM 
In Fall 2021, the Forrest County Campus (FCC) added a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to ADN evening program. This option was started with initial assistance from Forrest Health. The option is designed to give students the flexibility to continue working while attending classes. Courses are offered in the evening and the weekend in a condensed schedule compared to the traditional program. 

Traditional ADN courses have only been offered on the Poplarville Campus. That is changing thanks to funding from an Accelerate Mississippi Pine Belt Healthcare grant. PRCC will be adding both the traditional ADN program option at FCC and an LPN to ADN evening option in Poplarville. The traditional ADN program in Poplarville has also added students. In total, the college expanded the program capacity by 30 students at each campus. 

“PRCC ADN program has been in existence since 1965,” said Dr. Arlene Jones, Director of the Associate Degree of Nursing program. “To date, over 3,500 graduates have successfully completed the program and have made nursing their career.  

Many have taken the opportunity to advance their education, and some have even returned to the program as faculty. To me, that speaks volumes to the reputation the ADN program has in our community. Those responsible for the program are excited and ready for this new challenge.” 

ADN instructor guides a student on using an IV Infusion Pump while other students observe at PRCC

PRACTICAL NURSING OPTION 
The Practical Nursing program is available for full-time students during the day at the Forrest County and Poplarville Campuses. An evening/weekend option is available at all three campuses (Forrest County, Hancock County and Poplarville.) Full-time students complete the program in 3 semesters (one year) while the part-time students take five semesters to finish. 

“I personally started my nursing career as a PRCC LPN,” said Dr. Melissa Bryant, District Wide Practical Nursing Department Chair/Instructor of Practical Nursing. “I can truly say that PRCC changed my life.  

“The PRCC Practical Nursing Program provides an opportunity for students to enter a career in nursing in as little as one-year. PRCC LPN’s work in a variety of healthcare settings and have the opportunity to advance. Becoming a PRCC LPN was the best decision I ever made.” 

Nursing Instructor describes procedure to PRCC LPN students

JOB OPPORTUNITIES AT PRCC 
Expanding the offerings has created new positions at PRCC. This includes four 9-month full-time faculty positions and two part-time adjunct faculty positions. Both require a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Nursing as well as at least five years of clinical experience in an acute care setting.  

HOW TO APPLY TO THE ADN PROGRAM 
In addition to all PRCC admission requirements, the ADN program has a separate admission process with program specific requirements. Once accepted as a PRCC student, the ADN Interest Survey is accessed through the ADN website. The survey is open July 1 – October 1 for Spring admission and December 1 – March 1 for Fall admission.  

Specific materials required for a complete application to the program are listed on the PRCC website. Admission requirements for the programs of study are specific to each option. Applicants for all options are required to take an entrance exam. Those interested in the LPN to ADN Evening options must have all 30 credit hours of required general education classes completed before an application is filed. 

Questions about the program and application process can be sent to adn@prcc.edu

HOW TO APPLY TO THE LPN PROGRAM 
Like the ADN application, prospective students must first meet all PRCC admission requirements before completing the Practical Nursing application. Applicants must also take the TEAS Test completed through ATI Testing. The deadline to apply to ANY option is March 1. 

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