Pearl River joins area schools in supporting nursing education

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, June 21, 2022

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — At a time when the demand for nurses is high, Pearl River Community College is continuing to do its part in meeting the healthcare needs of local communities. PRCC joined Alcorn State University and Jones College on the campus of University of Southern Mississippi on Monday to enter into memorandums of understanding that support nursing education in the state. The institutions are working together to improve the health of Mississippians by increasing the number of nursing graduates from diverse backgrounds. 

Representatives from the four schools came together at The National Office in the Trent Lott Center. Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs, represented PRCC at the table alongside Interim Provost of The University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Gordon Cannon, President of Alcorn State University, Dr. Felecia M. Nave, and President of Jones College, Dr. Jessie Smith. 

“We are taking resources and we’re maximizing the benefit by this partnership,” said Causey. “This partnership between institutions is going to allow us to meet the healthcare needs of our communities, and everyone knows there’s a shortage.” 

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The schools in attendance announced two pre-licensure partnerships. The partnership has two components: an admissions pathway and an academic success pathway. The goal is to increase the number of nursing graduates in the workforce. 

Qualified students not admitted to the Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) program have an alternative admissions pathway. They can apply for the Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) or Practical Nursing (PN) programs at Alcorn, Jones, or PRCC. Upon successful completion of the ADN or PN program, eligible students will be able to return to the BSN program at USM. 

The agreement also has an academic success pathway. Students experiencing academic difficulty in the BSN program would be informed of either the ADN or PN program at the participating schools. If they maintain eligibility, they will have the opportunity to return to USM after successful completion of the ADN or PN program. 

“These partnerships will minimize the time to nursing degree and entering the workforce,” said Dr. Lachel Story, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at USM. “It will limit financial aid utilization and will increase student success and potential by meeting with students where they are and supporting them to achieve their goal.” 

PRCC recently announced an expansion of the ADN and PN programs, made possible with funding from an Accelerate Mississippi Pine Belt Healthcare grant. The Forrest County Campus is adding a traditional ADN program in addition to the LPN to ADN evening program added last fall. An LPN to ADN evening option is starting up on the Poplarville Campus as well as expanding the number of students in the traditional ADN. 

The Practical Nursing (LPN) program has also been expanded by 30 students, spread across the three campuses. 

“At Pearl River, we are teaching our nursing students to be not only capable in their jobs, but to be compassionate, caring members of the community,” said Causey. “We are committed to graduating nurses who will stay local and serve the healthcare needs of Mississippi.” 

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