MAC Expands Nursing Education to Meet Community Needs
Mineral Area College (MAC) has been approved to expand sophomore-year nursing offerings for Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Advanced Placement ADN students in the Cape Girardeau and Perry County areas. At their March meeting, the Missouri Board of Nursing approved MAC’s request to add 30 seats to meet the workforce needs of the local community by providing affordable and convenient access to ADN education. The expansion will begin with the Fall 2023 semester.
Through partnerships with local hospitals, Saint Francis Medical Center (SFMC) in Cape Girardeau, and Perry County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) in Perryville, 30 sophomore MAC nursing students will attend synchronous lectures via Zoom at the hospital in their community, and both hospitals will serve as clinical sites.
In addition, both hospitals and MAC have an Academic/Employer Partnership, which gives students the opportunity to be hired as student nurses in the final semester of the ADN program, with a predetermined number of employed hours to be applied to help fulfill the student’s commitment for that semester’s clinical rotations. The partnership streamlines the pathway to employment, easing the transition from student to graduate nurse, benefiting both the student and facility.
MAC Dean of Allied Health Angie Erickson said the collaboration between MAC and the partnering hospitals will provide an opportunity for students to remain in their community for didactic and clinical experiences.
“Thanks to the Academic/Employer Partnership, the students attending the site may apply to participate in the partnership during the final semester of the program, thereby decreasing the number of clinical hours in the program,” said Erickson. “This will also ease the transition from student to graduate nurse and decrease the overall cost of orientation for the hiring facility.”
MAC Director of Allied Health Amy Schwent said that additional faculty and staff will support the program expansion. Each facility will have an education liaison who will work closely with MAC’s main campus faculty. The liaisons have at least BSN-level training and will help assist students with on-site needs. Additionally, an Associate Allied Health Director will oversee the expansion programs.
The expansion initially began a year ago when MAC and PCMH embarked on this innovative trial as a pilot program which is now transitioning into this permanent solution. Schwent said that during the 2022-2023 academic year, the college and PCMH have worked through the initial road bumps and found out that the positive effects for the students outweighed all of the bumps encountered on the way.
“Continuing to increase the footprint of our program geographically is the next logical step in increasing to meet the needs of our communities in healthcare,” Schwent said. “Regardless of where our students are attending, main campus, PCMH, or SFMC, they will be able to access student services on campus, online, or at our existing outreach sites in their community. I am excited about our endeavor and know that our partnerships will continue to build and grow our students into successful nurses.”
Both the partnering hospitals and the community will see a positive impact from the partnership, which will increase the number of registered nurses graduating each year.
“The collaboration between Saint Francis Healthcare System and Mineral Area College provides students with the opportunity for meaningful, real-world experiences in patient care in multiple specialties, while ensuring a thriving regional health system,” said Jill Sanders, MSN, RN, RT(R), Director of Learning and Development for Saint Francis Healthcare System.
Applications are being accepted through April 28, 2023, for the Advanced Placement ADN program at Cape Girardeau or Perryville locations. Apply at MineralArea.edu/NursingExpansion. For more information, contact the MAC Allied Health Department at 573-518-2172.
To learn more about Mineral Area College, visit MineralArea.edu.