April 16, 2007
TAKING THE NEXT STEP TO SUPPORT NURSING EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE
A grant will help Clark College meet needs for long-term care
in Southwest Washington
VANCOUVER, Wash. – The population is aging, the need for nurses in long-term care is increasing, and the pool of nurses is declining. To help address that regional need, Clark College has received a $15,387 grant to fund a community feasibility study for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program.
The funds are provided through the Promise of Nursing for Washington Nursing School Grant Program, administered by the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association. Clark applied for the grant through the Washington Center for Nursing.
Clark College Interim Dean of Science, Health & Physical Education Travis Kibota said, “The pool of Licensed Practical Nurses is declining nationally due to an aging workforce that is ready to retire. While the pool of LPNs is decreasing, the demand for LPNs is projected to grow significantly by the year 2015 – particularly in nursing homes, home health care and long-term care settings.”
Clark College Director of Nursing Shelly Quint said, “An aging population has advanced needs that require nurses in long-term care and outpatient settings. LPNs are key personnel for these areas in health care. Clark is being responsive and responsible for long-range planning for the need of this type of program for our community.”
Quint added, “There is a growing gap in the health care industry for this particular field. This grant will give us the time to carefully gather information from the community before starting a new nursing program.”
The Clark College nursing program is one of the largest nursing programs in the Pacific Northwest with 120 student admissions per year. Clark’s nursing program is unique in that it admits and graduates students each fall, winter and spring, with graduation rates between 110-120 students per year.
Clark College Interim President Robert K. Knight noted, “Providing nurses for the rapidly growing and aging population in Southwest Washington is a high priority for the college. Through this grant, we will enhance our already strong nursing program by taking ‘The Next Step’ to provide new healthcare programs and services for our community.”
The grant request was submitted by Clark’s Director of Grants Development Katharine Brokaw as part of a college-wide effort to increase grant support through the college’s Office of Planning and Advancement.
Clark College’s Associate Degree Nursing Program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
The Washington Center for Nursing was established in 2004 to ensure that Washington State has an adequate supply of nurses to provide quality care to its citizens. Other projects include research about the nursing shortage, development of a master plan for nursing education, and scholarships.
About the Clark College LPN Program Planning Project
The Clark College Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Program Planning Project will provide the planning necessary to implement a unique model for the future education of licensed practical nurses. Historically, LPN curriculum/programs in Southwest Washington and the Portland metropolitan area were embedded within Registered Nurse (RN) associate degree programs. Therefore, colleges weren’t producing graduates who remained LPNs. The typical graduate completes LPN credentials and quickly goes on to complete an RN, due in large part to higher salaries in the RN field.
A free-standing LPN program will allow the Clark College nursing program to target and recruit individuals from underrepresented populations who wish to pursue an LPN career track. For the past three years, the college’s pre-Nursing Assistant Certified (NAC) and NAC training programs have been offered to WorkFirst, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and WorkSource clients as a means for economically disadvantaged populations to begin a career in healthcare. The NAC training program integrates basic skills instruction with healthcare training.