Beginning this summer, up to twenty licensed practical nurses from Western New York will take the first steps toward becoming registered nurses at Genesee Community College - and bypass the first year of Genesee's nursing courses.

The new transition course, one of only five being piloted across New York State, consists of an intensive three-credit summer educational program designed specifically for experienced licensed practical nurses who want to advance in their careers via the newly-developed NYS LPN to RN Articulation Model, said Michael S. Stoll, Dean of Math, Science, and Career Education.

After they successfully complete the summer program, LPNs will have up to one year to get accepted into the RN program and begin what would normally be the second year of study at Genesee. Many participants will then be able to complete Genesee's nursing program, and earn an associate's degree, in one additional year. All students will still have to meet the prerequisites for admission and all the general education courses required in the degree program.

The Articulation Model recognizes that licensed practical nurses already have many valuable skills, Dean Stoll told the Board. "It gives these nurses, many of whom have years of experience, the opportunity to quickly advance in the nursing profession."

Just as important, the new program will help bring more nurses to area hospitals. "We have a nursing shortage throughout New York State and the nation, and the shortage is projected to grow worse," Dean Stoll said. "By helping prospective registered nurses accelerate their course of study, we should be able to help area hospitals and health care institutions maintain the staffing levels they need."

Genesee students usually complete nursing degrees in two or three years of full-time study. After graduation, they complete a rigorous national nursing examination - typically called the "nursing boards." Individuals who pass become registered nurses.