The ongoing national nursing shortage just got some much-needed relief thanks to a unique partnership between Huntsville Hospital and Drake State Community & Technical College.
The first 19 graduates of LPN Launch, a new training program for Licensed Practical Nurses, marked their transition from student nurse to professional caregiver on Aug. 8 with a Pinning, Candle Lighting and White Coat ceremony.
All the grads already have jobs lined up at Huntsville Hospital, Madison Hospital or Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.
LPN Launch is taught by Drake State nursing faculty at Huntsville Hospital’s Cochran Training Center. Students receive free tuition, books and fees; in return, they agree to a three-year work commitment at a Huntsville Hospital Health System facility in Madison County.
Along with extensive classroom and clinical training, the program prepares students to take the NCLEX-PN, the national certification exam for Licensed Practical Nurses.
“We are thrilled at the graduation of the first nurses from the LPN Launch program,” said Tracy Doughty, Huntsville Hospital President and Chief Operating Officer. “It is truly a win-win-win for the students, Drake State, and Huntsville Hospital.
“When we announced this new program with Drake in March 2022, we knew that this effort could provide a pipeline of nurses for many years to come,” Doughty added. “With this graduation, the pipeline is now open, and our community and our patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries.”
The graduation ceremony at Huntsville’s Campus 805 event center was a momentous occasion for LPN Launch students who put in countless hours of hard work over three semesters. Now, their perseverance is being rewarded with a professional nursing career.
“As our inaugural graduates prepare to enter the workforce at Huntsville Hospital, we are confident that this program will serve as a shining example for other institutions across the state, demonstrating the impact that collaborative initiatives can have on health care education and, ultimately, on the well-being of our communities,” said Dr. Patricia Sims, Drake State President.
As the first LPN Launch graduates head off to work at Huntsville Hospital Health System, another 10 aspiring Licensed Practical Nurses are on track to graduate from the program this December and 16 more in May 2024.
“We are confident that these highly skilled LPNs will excel in their careers and provide exceptional care to our community in the Huntsville Hospital service area,” said Dr. Alice Raymond, Drake State’s Director of Innovation and Program Success and Health Sciences Division Chair.
Click here to learn more about the Drake State-Huntsville Hospital LPN Launch partnership and apply for admission.