The Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences is accepting applications for a new, bi-level Practical Nursing (PN) track beginning in January 2023.
The program is designed to help meet a growing shortage of PNs in Missouri. Program Director Vickie Schnurbusch, MSN, RN, CHPN, says a Missouri Hospital Association Workforce study in 2021 shows that PNs have the highest vacancy rate – 17 percent – compared to other healthcare professions in the state. The southeast region of Missouri is ranked second for PN vacancies at 21.6 percent.
“We expect this demand for PNs to increase by six percent by 2031. PNs are aging out, retiring or changing careers, but our baby boomers and the chronic health conditions that come with aging will require more PNs in settings like hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, outpatient clinics and private duty nursing settings,” she adds. “We know we can assist with that demand.”
The College’s bi-level PN program is one of just a handful in Missouri. Students enter the program already having a strong general education foundation. Upon completing the PN track, students have the opportunity to take their licensure exam and begin working as an PN or seamlessly transition to the College’s Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (RN) degree. This is without a second entrance exam or admission fee. Another attractive option is that students also can enter the PN workforce while working on their RN degree. “This program allows students to pursue career goals with minimal repetition or barriers,” Schnurbusch adds.
The program is open to anyone who has an interest in the nursing profession, including high school graduates or someone already in the workforce looking for a career change.