Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center Donates $125,000 for Kennett-Based LPN to RN Bridge Program

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In the front row, from left, are students Jennifer Hicks, Kim Keene, Melissa Smith and Judy Davis. In the back row, from left, are Shannon Ellison, site coordinator for the program; students Michelle Miller, Amy Jenkins and Laura Heath.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 31, 2006 – Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center (TRRMC) in Kennett, Mo., has donated $125,000 to the new associate degree Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse (LPN to RN) Bridge Program that will be offered at Southeast Missouri State University – Kennett.

“Our hospital is committed to serving the health needs of our community and nursing education is a crucial component to healthcare,” John McClellan, chief executive officer of Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, said of the donation.

The program, which began Oct. 30 at the Kennett regional campus, is offered through a partnership between the University and Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Under the partnership, Southeast Missouri State University will provide the general education and science classes, and the College will provide the nursing courses and award the associate of applied science in nursing degree upon completion of the program. The two-year LPN to RN Bridge Program has been approved by the Missouri Nursing Board to educate up to 12 students per cohort, and is expected to produce 22 registered nurses by 2009.

“This financial commitment to training registered nurses demonstrates TRRMC’s dedication to providing excellent healthcare in the Bootheel,” said Marsha Blanchard, director of the Kennett regional campus. “Programs such as this require a considerable investment in equipment, training supplies, faculty and clinical supervision. The Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center contribution, which will be utilized over a three-year period, will assist with this cost of delivery to ensure a high quality education for students in the program.”

Offering the program in Kennett, an area with a shortage of registered nurses, will provide an opportunity for licensed practical nurses in the community to further their education locally, thus benefiting students and the community, according to Blanchard.

“Students will benefit from this donation and the support from TRRMC by having local access to a high quality LPN to RN Bridge program,” Blanchard said. “The entire Bootheel will benefit because more highly trained nurses will ensure quality health care for local citizens. On behalf of the students and all area citizens who will benefit, I am very grateful to TRRMC for their support and generosity,” she added.

Officials at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center are enthusiastic about the benefits the new program will have for their community as well.

“With this program the gap will be bridged, so that LPNs in Kennett and the surrounding communities can continue their education seamlessly,” said Melissa Samuelson, chief nursing officer of Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center. “We have worked for years to implement a LPN to RN program in Kennett. It has been a pleasure to work with Southeast Missouri State University and Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences in getting the program started.”

The Kennett LPN to RN Bridge Program also recently received a $664,379 Missouri Foundation for Health grant, which will underwrite start-up costs for the program.

LPNs who are interested in becoming a registered nurse should contact Blanchard or Karen Tucker, academic advisor at the Kennett regional campus, at (573) 888-0513 to apply for admission to the LPN to RN Bridge Program.

Photo of LPN to RN participantsIn the front row, from left, are students Jennifer Hicks, Kim Keene, Melissa Smith, Judy Davis and Stephanie Mullins. In the back row, from left, are John McClellan, chief executive officer of Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center; Shannon Ellison, site coordinator for the program; students Michelle Miller, Amy Jenkins, Laura Heath, Brandy Taylor and Pat Trout; Melissa Samuelson, chief nursing officer of Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center; Marsha Blanchard, director of Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett; and student Mary Ann Stephens.