HURON, S.D. Southeast Tech and the Huron Regional Medical Center made an exciting announcement on Tuesday. The college is offering a hybrid nursing program to LPNs in the area. KSFY's Kayleigh Schmidt attended the press conference today and looks at what opportunities the new program will bring.
Working licensed practical nursing students, or LPNs, are eligible to apply for the program.
"They need an LPN license in South Dakota, they need to have 750 hours work experience and it's designed to help them increase their nursing education, go on to the RN role," Southeast Tech Nursing Program Director Kristin Possehl said.
Huron LPNs are ready for the chance to move up in the healthcare world.
"Being an LPN for 10 years, I've always wanted to get the opportunity to go on and further my education. I just never had it where it was close enough to home to still be with my family, so I'm very excited to stay and learn and grow in Huron," LPN Amanda Grines said.
There's hope that this type of program will reach more rural healthcare facilities.
"If they have an LPN that they want to send to school, they might be able to sponsor them," Possehl said. "If the student knows that they wanna go on for their RN, they can take the lectures online, but they can't come to Sioux Falls for their clinical or for their practicum, we'll be coming to them instead."
It's a step to help end the nursing shortage around South Dakota.
"I think it'll bring people to Huron and be able to see what our community is made out, how we are such a community not just in our little neighborhoods, but the entire town," Grines said.
Long-term care facilities have seen a major shortage in LPNs and RNs.
"One of the nice things about a program like this [is] we hope to attract some high school students who are interested in health career and explain to them: this is how you can get started, this how you can start that pathway and end up as a registered nurse in the state," Possehl said.
For many of the LPNs in the area, it's a dream come true to have a chance to stay with their family and their community.
Classes for the Southeast Tech program will begin next August with room for 16 students. Those who complete the 24-credit RN program will be eligible to take their nursing board exam.
For more information, you can visit the links to the right of this article.