Nursing classes under way at new KC Vandalia Campus

The first Kaskaskia College Licensed Practical Nursing Program began classes at the new Vandalia Campus on Feb. 4 with 15 students in the newly equipped health care lab in the Simma-Kelly Education Building.

The practical nursing program is a three-semester program leading to a certificate.

The graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and graduates who pass the exam may apply to become licensed practical nurses. LPNs work in a variety of health care settings, giving direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician.

The program includes theory and clinical experiences in a variety of health care venues, including acute care, community settings, long-term care, and physicians offices and clinics.

Mary Lou Whitten, dean of nursing at Kaskaskia College, said, It has been a pleasure to work with the faculty, staff and the students preparing for this important day.

They have been accommodating in every way. We have been welcomed by the medical community, and they are looking forward to serving as resources for the clinical skills training.

She also commented on the health care lab, saying, The lab is beautiful in every way, and it is a privilege for everyone to be a part of the first LPN program in Vandalia.

While speaking about the future of the nursing program in Vandalia, Whitten said, We are looking forward to many years of bringing nursing classes to the Vandalia Campus.

In that same manner, the college nursing department hopes to become an accredited site to teach the continuing education classes now required of practicing nurses to be completed prior to renewing their license.

Regarding the needs for additional faculty at the Vandalia location, Whitten said that any registered nurse who may be interested in teaching any of the nursing program classes should contact her by calling her at the Centralia Campus, 618-545-3331.

The instructors for the program at Vandalia are Lisa Motch, RN, BSN; Sharon Shanafelt; Julie DePaolo; and Robin Best.

Motch is the associate professor of nursing at the Vandalia campus and works for KC full-time, teaching basic nursing skills and dosage calculations, as well as assisting with clinical training. A resident of rural Salem, she has been employed by the college for a year as the nursing students tutor, and was teaching an obstetrics class and the clinical skills class at Centralia.

When asked about her position at Vandalia, Motch said she is very excited to be in a new facility. She said, To be the first person to teach in the Vandalia LPN program is both an honor and a privilege. There is a lot of responsibility in educating future nurses. We want the Vandalia program to mirror the quality of the program in Centralia.

I want this program to succeed for personal reasons as well. As a graduate of South Central High School in Farina, I hope to see this program bring new opportunities to this area.

Anyone interested in the Vandalia nursing program can contact Motch at the Vandalia Campus, 283-1780, and set up an appointment.

Shanafelt, RN, MSN, is the instructor for the nursing in the home and community class that is held on Mondays. She is a full-time nursing instructor at the Centralia Campus and has worked for the college since 1993.

When asked about the program in Vandalia, Shanafelt said, The facility is beautiful and impressive. We are pleased to have this program in Vandalia, to serve the people in the northern part of the college district.

DePaolo, RN, BS, is a local resident and nurse at the Fayette County Hospital Senior Renewal. She is the instructor for the human structure and function class held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

DePaolo has been teaching biology classes at the Vandalia site for many years and is now teaching the nursing class.

When asked about her part in the Vandalia nursing program, DePaolo said, The demand for nursing education is great. It is wonderful to be able to add a KC nursing program in Vandalia.

This program opens up more opportunities to those interested in pursuing a nursing career.

DePaolo said that for a long time, she wanted to be a teacher and a nurse, and now it is wonderful to be both.

She has always sought local employment because she wants to serve and work in her community. It is great to be able to do what you want, and doing it in your own community makes it even better.

Best, RN, BSN, is the clinical instructor for the program.

Best said it must have been meant to be that she was able to take this position. She had just retired from 28 years with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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