Genesee Community College has secured a $267,203 grant to help area licensed practical nurses prepare to become registered nurses, President Stuart Steiner reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening. The highly competitive grant was awarded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the grant will provide financial and academic support to licensed practical nurses admitted to Genesee Community College’s growing nursing program. Licensed practical nurses who wish to become RNs face many challenges, according to Associate Vice President Michael S. Stoll. “Our nursing program is academically rigorous, and most nursing students have to work very hard to master the subject matter and earn their degrees,” Mr. Stoll said. “We have found that many LPNs need to work full time in order to support themselves at the same time they attend nursing classes. Working as an LPN and pursuing a nursing degree, and sometimes raising a family, all at the same time, makes academic success that much more difficult.”
Under the grant, licensed practical nurses that are economically or educationally disadvantaged will be eligible to receive annual scholarships of $1,000. Students are also eligible for study stipends of $250 or $1,000, depending on the coursework they are pursuing. This aid will ease work and financial pressures for some students, Mr. Stoll said.
The grant will also provide faculty mentors and tutors for licensed practical nurses pursuing nursing degrees at Genesee. Students will meet with their mentors on a regular basis, and receive in-depth tutoring if they encounter academic obstacles. “We believe that a combination of modest financial support and highly individualized academic services will help most LPNs succeed in the program, and earn their nursing degrees.”
The Department of Health and Human Services grant will serve 48 students during its first year. If the program is successful, the grant might be renewed for one or two more years.
Although many Genesee nursing students will benefit from the program, the real beneficiaries are Western New York residents, Mr. Stoll said. “We know that a major nursing shortage is looming, and the health and well being of every resident of Western New York depends on the presence of highly competent nurses in our hospitals and health care agencies,” he said. “This program is one more way we can prepare nurses for the health care challenges our communities face.”
Genesee Community College’s Nursing program now admits 150 students each year. Students can complete the program and earn an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in two years, although some students complete the program in three years. After students receive their degrees from Genesee, they are eligible to sit for the National League of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination. Students who pass the licensure examination then receive R.N. status.
Earlier this month, Genesee’s School of Nursing moved into the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate MedTech Park across from the Batavia Campus. The new facility contains classrooms, labs, student gathering space, faculty offices, and a state-of-the-art lecture hall for the growing program.
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