Mentoring Programs are Effective - Critical Skills Shortage Initiative



Mentoring Programs are Effective - Critical Skills Shortage Initiative
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Mentoring Programs Are Effective
Lisa Wright attended John A. Logan College where she received her Associates
Frontier Community College in
Fairfield and Wabash Valley
College in Mt. Carmel are supporting
a new mentoring program that pairs
student nurses with working RNs.
The Illinois Eastern Community
Colleges/Olney Central College
Associate Degree Nursing Program
was contacted when funding for the
project through a Critical Skill
Shortages Initiative Healthcare
Training Grant was awarded to the
Southern Economic Development
Region. The Program sites at Mt.
Carmel and Fairfield are in the service
area of the Southern Economic
Development Region. Mentoring
nursing students has the goal of
increasing degree completion rates to
impact the nursing shortage.
“The mentors meet with students on
a regular basis to provide support for
the challenges students encounter,”
said Donna Henry, Associate Dean of
Nursing and Allied Health. “They also
help students with academics and
stress issues,” she added.
Many of the registered nurses serving
as mentors are FCC and WVC
graduates so they know firsthand the
rigorous challenges students face while
juggling home, work and school
“Through the program, the mentors
Above, Top: Kathy Hudson, RN, MSN, WVC nursing instructor, assists a nursing student in the evaluation of
heart sounds. Center Left: Lori Phillips RN, MSN, NP-C, WVC nursing instructor, reviews client records with a
WVC RN student. Center Right: Frontier Community College nursing student Anna Resor. Bottom: Frontier
Community College's Student Nurses' Association received a donation of a banner from Level 1 Nursing
Program students. Pictured with the banner are, first row, left to right: Rebecca Loudermilk, Janice Green,
Sharon Webb, Morgan O'Ryan, Kelli Eckleberry and Shanna Rogers. Second row, left to right: Stephanie
Shoemaker, Candy Ray, Amanda Spencer and Melissa Felowitz. Third row, left to right: Ashley Usery, Sheila Lee,
Teresa Rowe, Cindy Cook, Joanna Roberts, Heather Kanitz, Jamie Frost and Ashley Clark. Fourth row, left to
right: Shannon Forth, Sarah Orrel, Ruthie White, Blair Heisner, Heather Pugh, Amber Dagg and Jennifer
Mayberry. Not pictured: Shanna Hutchens, Steve Willis, Sara Colclasure, Whitney Johnson and Nina Rainwater.
are providing additional support at a
critical time to help the students
through so they can complete their
degrees,” Henry said.
In 2005, the IECC/OCC Nursing
Program graduated 100 registered
nurses and 94 licensed practical nurses.
Five were hired to work at Fairfield
Memorial Hospital, which serves as a
training center for future nurses.
to pursue her interest in nursing.
“I've always wanted to be a nurse, but
was afraid of how hard it was going to
be to get my education,” she said.
Whitehead worked as an aid in the
Medical Surgical Unit for three years
and began her nursing classes. Last
year, she was able to work on the
Medical Surgical Unit as an LPN and
today she is working as an RN.
Questions about the initiative?
Please feel free to contact us if you have additional questions
regarding the Critical Skill Shortages Healthcare Initiative:
Mr. Cary Minnis
Healthcare Liaison • Man-Tra-Con Corporation
3000 W. DeYoung Street, Suite 800-B • Marion, IL 62959
Phone: 618/998-0970, Ext. 211
E-mail: [email protected]
“The class of graduates from 2005
have provided Fairfield Memorial
Hospital with some of the best future
nurses that our hospital has had the
privilege to hire,” said Kathy Bunting,
Chief Nurse Executive for FMH.
During a time of nursing shortages in
our country, it is vital that small and
rural hospitals grow their own nurses
from within the local community.”
Kristie Whitehead, of Fairfield, had
worked in the hospital's business office
for more than a year when she chose
Nursing is a difficult curriculum and
requires commitment of time and
energy. Students take tough academic
courses while they are learning to deal
with situations that arise in their
clinical experiences at health care
facilities. Nurses are with patients and
families during the most vulnerable
periods of their lives, illness, trauma,
birth, death, and nursing students
work with these types of situations
while going to school. This
involvement in the crises of the lives
of others, while managing their own
jobs and families and academics, makes
nursing education more stressful than
some other disciplines. Mentors,
through this Grant program, can help
students deal with these events and
maintain the balance necessary to cope.
Degree in Nursing. She has recently started work at Herrin Hospital in the ICU
through a program designed to help new graduates obtain the training to work in
critical care.
“I decided to pursue a nursing career because I wanted job security and a chance to
make a difference in people's lives. School has set the foundation for my nursing
career. The experience I will receive on the job as well as my education through
John A. Logan will help me to develop my skills as a nurse,” Lisa explained.
feel this program will be a lot of help for the students. Just
graduating, I can relate to the stress this program can put on a
person. I hope I will be able to help those who need it,” she added.
When asked why she chose to work locally, Lisa
replied, "I am really enjoying working at Herrin
Hospital. The convenience of working close to
home and not having the long commute to and
from work has made my transition from students to
nurse much easier. There are so many local
opportunities to make the big city salaries that
working close to home was the right choice for me."
he mentors meet with the
students on a regular basis to
provide support for the challenges
they encounter.’
- Associate Dean Donna Henry
The IECC/OCC Nursing Program
offers students a number of academic
options. Students can take an exam to
become a Certified Nursing Assistant
after the first semester of their
freshman year, exit the program at the
Practical Nurse Level following the
summer of their first year or continue
into the second year and complete
their studies as a Registered Nurse.
Through the LPN to RN program,
students can receive advanced
placement when accepted into the
nursing program.
If you would like to know more about
a career in nursing, contact Jean
Duckworth at Frontier Community
College at 618-842-3711, ext. 4520 or
Vavette Sexton at Wabash Valley
College at 618-262-8641, ext. 3431.
*This is the tenth of a year-long series of articles that will appear in the Southern Business Journal as part of the Critical
Skill Shortages Initiative (CSSI). The Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) as part of Governor
Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns Initiative awarded the Southern Economic Development Region (SEDR) a Healthcare
Training Grant to support projects aimed at decreasing the critical nursing shortage in southern Illinois. Representatives
from healthcare, community colleges, business, K-12 education, labor, economic development and workforce
development participated in focus group & consortia committee meetings during the last year to plan and implement
these important projects.”
To find out more about the mentoring program contact Cary Minnis at MANTRA-CON Corporation 1-800-315-3986, ext. 211. ■
Sara Haggard attended Wabash Valley College where
she received her Associates Degree in Nursing. She has
since been employed in the nursing field for 12 years.
Sara has experience in cardiac telemetry, cardiac rehab,
cardiac stress lab, office nursing, mental health,
chemical dependency, and same day surgery.
“I began my nursing career in 1993 after graduating from IECC - WVC. Nursing has
made a profound impact in my life. I've had the opportunity and privilege to work
with care for many different people over the years. Many which have positively
affected my life. I've found nursing to be challenging, fulfilling, and humbling. It has
been an excellent career. I've also found nursing to be an ever changing profession.
I'm looking forward to the future of nursing and what it has to bring,” Sara stated.
y goal in the mentoring program is to assist those who are
interested in nursing through the transition. Not only that of
being a student, but that of being a nursing student. All those who
are in this program will soon find out it is different from anything
they have ever done before,” Sara explained.
To find out more about the mentoring program contact Wabash Area Development,
Inc. at (618) 963-2387, ext. 211. ■

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