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2014 May 23 - 04:09 pm

Nursing Program Moves Forward at La. College

Difficulty in Finding Faculty Delays New Program

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — South Louisiana Community College’s new registered nurse program could start in August, pending a site visit and approval from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1nPp0Hz ) the college had planned to start the new program sometime this spring, but hiring nursing faculty who fit the educational and experience requirements set by the state proved challenging.

Faculty members must hold a master’s degree in nursing, have recent clinical experience and also have experience in curriculum development.

Faculty had to be on board before the state Board of Nursing could begin the process of approving the program, said Laurie Fontenot, SLCC dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Safety.

All four new faculty members were hired by January, but the state nursing board only meets six times a year and the SLCC program could not get on the board’s agenda until April, Fontenot said in an email.

The nursing board recently met and gave the college approval to proceed with its plans and scheduled a site visit to review the new program’s lab space. The findings of that visit will be reported to the board at its meeting in June. If the board approves the project, the college may open the program for registration, Fontenot said.

The program has a capacity for 40 students, and college officials have said the program could grow in the future to admit 60 students per incoming class.

The associate degree program prepares students for becoming a registered nurse.

The program’s goal is to fill a need for nurses in the Acadiana area.

Lafayette’s major hospitals supported the program’s development, backing it with a donation of $450,000. A contribution of $50,000 from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority boosted donations to the half-million dollar mark. The money will be used to pay for faculty salaries and equipment.

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