North Central Michigan College (NCMC) is set to launch a practical nurse certificate program next year, aiming to alleviate regional and statewide nursing shortages. The three-semester program, developed in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities like McLaren Northern Michigan, Medilodge of Gaylord, and Bay Bluffs, responds to the labor shortages caused by the pandemic.
Brent LaFaive, NCMC's Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, noted that while the trend was towards nurses with bachelor's degrees pre-COVID, the pandemic-induced exodus from the profession has necessitated training nurses at all levels. The program is designed to attract individuals seeking an entry point into the healthcare sector.
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Practical nurses, requiring only a certificate instead of an associate's or bachelor's degree, perform duties similar to registered nurses. They can earn up to $25 per hour locally, a figure projected to rise to $30 per hour within five years. The program aims to address staffing shortages in the region's nursing facilities, which currently have long waiting lists due to a lack of staff.
Prospective Students Encouraged to Apply Soon
The practical nurse program offers a blend of traditional lecture and lab work in NCMC's simulation lab, complemented by on-site training at the college's 10 clinical locations. Classes will commence in January, and prospective students are encouraged to apply soon as the program is capped at 40 students per cohort.
Stephen Strom, NCMC's Vice President of Academic Affairs, emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to nursing education, providing multiple entry points into the career. The Fast Track program allows students to complete a PN degree at their own pace, and with clinical work experience, they can progress to the RN program and continue their educational journey as desired.
Edited by Joe V