LUMBERTON — Robeson Community College is opening the doors of opportunity for nurses to advance their careers with a new registered nursing program for licensed practical nurses that is set to launch in May with 10 students.
Nursing Director Eva Meekins told the board of trustees at their monthly meeting on Monday that when the LPN program opened five years ago, the plan was to create a pathway for its graduates to the RN program. That day has arrived, she said.
“This opens huge doors for our LPN graduates,” Meekins said. “This is the right thing at the right time, and it will really benefit the county.”
One person the new program will benefit was at Monday’s meeting and will join the first class.
“I had a job at Southeastern Health before I graduated from the LPN program,” said Michelle Crews, of Lumberton. “The day I started my job I knew right then I needed to go back to school.”
Crews picked RCC for her continuing education in nursing because of the new program. As a medical technician, she made $10 an hour, as an LPN, she makes $17 an hour, and as an RN, she could make up to $30 an hour, she said.
The program may be completed in as little as three semesters, Meekins said. LPN candidates must meet academic and employment requirements. The college enrolls up to 24 students in its LPN program and up to 82 in its RN program.
“We have a ready pipeline from the LPN program to the RN program,” Meekins said.
“Our goal is to create a seamless pathway to educational opportunity for our students,” RCC President Kimberly Gold said.
In her report to the trustees, Gold said RCC will sign a memorandum of understanding in April between the Lumberton Police Department and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to provide equipment and training for law enforcement students and officers in dealing with domestic violence. The signing will take place on RCC’s campus and include representatives from UNCP and Lumberton police, including Chief Mike McNeill.
The program is funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The amount of the grant was not available.
The college may get its first mascot if the current Student Government Association has its way.
“We took a poll and found that 71 percent of RCC students would like to have a school mascot,” said SGA President Samantha Lewis. “Some of the ideas for mascots were Eagles, Bears and Lions.”
In other action, the trustees approved a $100-a-year, one-year lease on an unused runway at Lumberton Municipal Airport. The college uses it for driver training in its law enforcement program.
Gold also told the trustees that RCC is in compliance with the state’s holiday policy. A state review found some North Carolina community colleges had added paid holidays to their calendar. Robeson Community College gives its employees 12 paid holidays, which conforms to the state policy.
Staff writer Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]