September 18, 2009–LaGuardia Community College held a pinning and capping ceremony on September 16 for 38 students who graduated from its practical nursing certificate program.
The new practical nurses, the majority of whom are older adults who are interested in embarking on second careers, will step into positions as health care providers in long-term care institutions and city hospitals. Four of the graduates will go on to LaGuardia’s LPN to RN Pathway program, which will lead to an associate degree in nursing.
“Today is a great day, for you are being recognized for your academic achievement, but it is only one step in the process,” Dr. Peter Katopes, vice president for Academic Affairs, said to the graduates. “The next step is to go out and help change other peoples’ lives.”
In her remarks to the graduates, Professor Ann Feibel noted that President Obama’s health care initiative would be putting important emphasis on prevention and wellness. “It starts with these men and women,” she said pointing to the new graduates.
The 12-month, 48-credit certificate program provides students with pre-clinical core educational courses as well as clinical hands-on-training assignments in the areas of mental health, medical-surgical nursing, maternal health and pediatric nursing at local health care facilities.
“The program has given the graduates the knowledge and confidence needed to be professional health care providers,” said Vincenzo Amendola, the class president. “We are ready to provide quality care for those in need of health services.”
“The LPN certification changes their lives significantly,” said Professor Kathleen Karsten. “That is especially true in the case of those who are presently working in hospitals in custodial-care positions. This certificate elevates them to a professional level.”
Once they pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN), Professor Karsten noted that the new practical nurses would perform similar duties to those of registered nurses. “The PN’s and RN’s learn to work together as a team providing collaborative patient care,” she said.
The four graduates who have decided to pursue a nursing degree have enrolled in LaGuardia’s LPN to RN Pathway program. Before officially entering the degree program, the student, after passing the licensing exam, will take a 12-week transition course through the Division of Adult and Continuing Education before applying for the three-credit bridge course, which begins the pathway track into the final year of the nursing program.
Since the program was established in 2005, approximately 100 students graduate each year. Out of that population, an estimated 75 students have completed the LPN to RN Pathway.
• • • •
Located in Long Island City, Queens in New York City, LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York, is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges. Founded in 1971, the College has been recognized as an innovator in educating students who are under prepared for college work and/or are not primary English speakers. A catalyst for development in western Queens and beyond, LaGuardia serves New Yorkers and immigrants from 160 countries through 50 majors and certificate programs, enabling career advancement and transfer to four-year colleges at twice the national average. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.