Practical Nursing, an organization that helps those pursuing careers in nursing, recently ranked Southern State Community College’s (SSCC) Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program as the second best in Ohio.
According to Practical Nursing’s website, the organization ranks LPN programs mainly based on the pass rate, that is the percentage of students from each school who take the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) test. If any programs tied, then Practical Nursing digs deeper, looking at the number of students who took the NCLEX-PN and number of years of test data available. Programs that have more students taking the test or that have more years of test data available are ranked higher.
SSCC Director of Nursing Julianne Krebs told The Times-Gazette that last year was the first time in nine years that a student didn’t pass the NCLEX-PN test.
“We had a small group, I’ll be honest,” Krebs said, “but we still ended up with a 92 percent pass rate.”
The LPN program at SSCC, Krebs said, lasts three semesters. Classes start in January, and students graduate in December, usually taking the NCLEX-PN the following January, which means they can work as an LPN within 12 months of starting the program. Krebs said that LPNs typically work in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and physicians’ offices, though they may also work in home health care.
“There’s a lot of opportunities for our graduates,” Krebs said. “I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t found a job that wanted one.”
Though the LPN classes take place on SSCC’s Brown County campus in Mt. Orab, Krebs said LPN program graduates have the opportunity to immediately transition into the associate’s degree program, which would prepare them for the Registered Nurse (RN) exam. A student who completes the LPN program only has to take two additional semesters to complete the associate’s degree program if they go into the associate’s program directly after graduating from the LPN program. If they choose to take some time off of school after graduating from the LPN program, then they have to take three semesters in order to complete the associate’s degree program.
“Our basic associate’s degree program is four semesters,” Krebs said. “They actually do [at least] one more semester, but sometimes it’s just advantageous for them to get out and work sooner. I believe they have the opportunity as they work to build more knowledge and even learn more from the associate’s degree pathway.”
Students enrolled in the associate’s degree program are able to take general education classes at any of SSCC’s campuses, Krebs said. Students in both the LPN and associate’s degree programs are required to participate in clinicals, which are kind of like internships for nursing students where the students work in actual hospitals under the supervision of practicing nurses. Krebs said SSCC’s clinical partners, which include Ohio Valley Manor, The Laurels of Hillsboro, Mercy Clermont, Fayette County Memorial, Adena Regional, Adams County Regional, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospitals, are incredibly supportive of SSCC students’ learning. Krebs also spoke highly of SSCC instructors.
“Our nursing faculty comes from the communities we serve,” Krebs said. “We’re really training those students to take care of our family and friends, so we approach it from a little different angle than some organizations.”
To see where other schools fall on Practical Nursing’s list, go to practicalnursing.org/lpn-programs/ohio. For more information about SSCC’s nursing program, go to sscc.edu/academics/programs/health-sciences.shtml or call 800-628-7722.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.