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South Side Education News & Notes

8/22/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

UA, Stark State, Summa collaborate to create LPN to BSN program

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The University of Akron, Stark State College and Summa Health System have come together to educate and train licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to become registered nurses (RNs) through a dual-degree, accelerated LPN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program.

The accelerated program commences fall semester with a cohort of 33 LPNs who are employed full-time at Summa. Within a two-and-a-half-year period, unlike the traditional four-year period at other LPN to BSN programs, nurses will earn an associate degree (ADN) at Stark State College and their BSN from The University of Akron. The ADN degree will take 18 months to complete, and the BSN one year to complete during fall, spring and summer semesters.

The scope of practice, capabilities and level of training among LPNs and RNs are different, as defined by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. For example, LPNs cannot perform patient assessments or develop a patient’s plan of care. Although LPNs are employed in many areas at Summa, they will no longer work in the intensive care or telemetry units at Summa Akron City Hospital.

“In addition to moving to an all RN staff in our critical care units, we are also focused on having our bedside RNs be BSN prepared at a minimum,” said Lanie Ward, senior vice president of Patient Care Services/chief nursing officer at Summa Health System. “We support the Institute of Medicine/Future of Nursing report that recommends 80 percent of bedside RNs be BSN prepared by 2020. That’s why we worked to reach an easy and effective solution to keep our LPNs local and support their individual growth to become BSN nurses. This collaborative training program will allow LPNs to advance their education so that they can continue serving and caring for our patients well into the future.”

A 128-credit hour curriculum includes flexible class schedules to allow LPNs to continue working full time while enrolled in the program. Additionally, students will undergo accelerated testing; several rotations in topics such as leadership, research and diversity; and advanced training on how to better care for complex patients, including those who require palliative and older adult care.

Once LPNs finish their degrees, they will return to their units within Summa as RNs or may apply to transfer to another unit within the hospital system, if desired. Additionally, all LPNs in the cohort will receive partial tuition reimbursement, and several others have been granted full scholarships. LPNs will be students in the program from August 2013 until December 2015.


Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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