Haywood Community College
Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard
185 Freedlander Drive
Clyde, NC 28721
828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513
For immediate release.
HCC'S ALTERNATIVE NURSING PROGRAM HELPS WORKING STUDENTS
by Diana Conard
A long anticipated day came for many students in Haywood Community College's alternative course schedule nursing program recently-the day of pinning. The day was extra special for Pat Barlow and Kim Spangler
Both of these middle-aged women drove long distances and juggled full-time jobs and family lives for what most graduates of the nursing program know is a very rigorous time in their lives.
What brought the Robbinsville and Oteen residents to the Clyde campus was the alternative course schedule. The schedule was created as an effort to provide more slots in the nursing program and give students an alternative to the traditional day class offerings. Designed for advanced placement students, most participants are LPNs that have spent time in the workforce practicing their trade.
Barlow works in staff development at Britthaven of Graham in Robbinsville. Since she worked while attending classes, the schedule worked out great for her. Barlow spent six years as an LPN but realized she needed the skills and job opportunities that came with the training of a registered nurse. She plans to move to Atlanta and specialize in pediatric nursing.
Barlow was inspired to become a nurse as she helped her brother who suffered with colon cancer. "I wanted to be able to help someone else-take care of them, make them feel better, be someone they can talk to, be an advocate for patients," she explains. "Not everyone is cut out to be a nurse. You must be versatile, have a strong will, direction, self-discipline, and drive. You must have empathy and sometimes be able to detach yourself."
For Kim Spangler, it took years to reach this point. She wanted to follow in her mother and grandmother's footsteps and eventually become a nurse. She started out as a paramedic on the trauma team in Raleigh. She has worked for five years as a LPN. She now works in surgical at the VA Hospital in Oteen.
Spangler knew that to advance, she needed to complete requirements to become a registered nurse. It would also enable her to teach her patients how to prevent illness.
"The instructors at HCC were great. They were very knowledgeable," Spangler said. "But for every hour of class, I put in two hours of studying. I had to focus on nothing but these classes. It requires a deep dedication."
Spangler says she enjoys nursing because of the interaction it allows with different people. She enjoys giving people dignity when they are sick.
Fifteen students were pinned at the ceremony, which was held at Norman Myers Auditorium at Southwestern Community College. Six of these students were from HCC and nine were from SCC. The HCC students include: Patricia Barlow, Jennifer Brock, Sheila Franklin, Jennifer Greene, Kim Lanning, and Kim Spangler.
According to an article in the April 21, 2005 issue of the Asheville Citizen-Times, the demand for nurses in North Carolina is forecasted to exceed supply in 2010, leaving the state with nearly an 18,000-nurse shortfall by 2020. Nationally, registered nurses top the list of occupations with the largest projected job growth for the 10-year period ending in 2012, according to a 2004 release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of applicants for the nursing program at HCC has increased 247% over a ten-year period and the number of accepted applicants has increased from 15 students in 1995 to 25 in 2005.
"We have had so many requests to have evening nursing classes," Blake Rogers, Director of the Region A Nursing Consortium and Chair of Health Professions at HCC, said. "The alternative course schedule has expanded our program to accommodate these students."
Nine advanced placement (LPN) applicants are admitted each summer semester in the alternate course schedule based on the selection criteria. Advanced placement applicants must complete the Nursing Transition class, NUR 189, with a grade of "C" or better. A prerequisite for enrolling in NUR 189 is a current, unencumbered North Carolina license to practice an an LPN.
The Nursing Transition class will be offered fall semester on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information on this class. HCC's traditional nursing program, or the alternative schedule, please call Student Services at 627-4500.