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Growing nursing program up for grants

TJC’s nursing program is being considered for a $130,000 grant after exceeding the 70 percent minimum gradation rate for new nurses.

“We are also applying for a federal grant. It will help with the evening transition program,” said Paul Monagan, dean of Allied Health and Nursing. “This federal grant, however, is not a sure bet. We have to compete with schools over the national scene for the [grant], but the $130,000 grant, that is for sure.”

Monagan also said that the nursing department would receive the grant up front, because more graduates are enrolled in the RN program than during the fiscal year of 2008.

“I think TJC is successful in providing beyond par nursing program and go beyond other schools by offering both the RN and LVN route,” undergraduate nursing major Jeffery Allen said.

The Higher Education Coordinating Board that sets aside money to address the nursing shortage every year will provide the grant.

“Now what impacts the RN program here at TJC is space,” said Rebecca Seeton, department chair of associate degree nursing. “I have four classes and four labs. The classroom holds a maximum of 44 students. Therefore, I can’t expand the traditional program.”

The nursing program has already applied for the grant, and they hope to receive it by next month. The grant will provide funding for additional faculty salaries.

“In the past, we would receive money for producing more graduates than the previous year. With the past Legislative session, it was decided that the schools of nursing should receive the money in advance,” Seeton said.

New faculty will begin instructing a new afternoon transition class where LVNs can become RNs by the summer of 2010. The grant will also provide additional faculty to have a weekend class. This will be a first for the TJC nursing department.

“This will be a great opportunity for the program to expand and accept more students,” Allen said. “For me personally, I plan to do the transition program starting next summer. So if it increases room for more students to do the same and improves my chances of getting more education, I’m all for it.”

However, the grant is only allowed to be used on costs pertaining to enrolling additional students, nursing faculty enhancement to assist the programs, innovating the recruitment and retention of students, including Spanish-speaking and bilingual students, identifying developing, or implementing innovative methods to make the most of limited professional nursing program faculty, instructional or clinical space and other resources.

TJC qualifies for the grant due to their graduation rate of 81 percent for 2008. Seeton also said that 81 percent is extremely high for a community college and is the reason they are able to participate in the Profession Nursing Shortage Reduction Program.

The PNSRP will provide institutions an award based on $10,000 per year for each additional nursing student enrolled in a professional nursing program. According to Seeton the nursing program is at the top of the list for a new building but isn’t sure when it might be built.

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