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Nursing students Julie Collins, left, and Krystina Howard participate in the operating room section of 'Let's Pretend Hospital.' Calhoun's Health-Science Department is expanding its programs to take advantage of their new state-of-the-art building, and that includes accepting more nursing students. In the background are Kim McDaniels and Joe Mbella.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Nursing students Julie Collins, left, and Krystina Howard participate in the operating room section of "Let's Pretend Hospital." Calhoun's Health-Science Department is expanding its programs to take advantage of their new state-of-the-art building, and that includes accepting more nursing students. In the background are Kim McDaniels and Joe Mbella.

Nursing students wanted
Calhoun program has room for more qualified applicants

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

The days of limited enrollment are history for Calhoun Community College's Nursing Department.

A new state-of-the-art building can do that for a program.

In recent years, Calhoun could accept 130 new students a year into the registered nursing program while annually getting more than 300 applicants.

The licensed practical nursing program was limited to just 50.

The new state-of-the-art $13.5 million Health-Sciences Building solved that space problem, but Nursing Department Chairwoman Jan Peek believes there's still a misconception that the program has a waiting list.

"We haven't had a waiting list since 1998," Peek said.

But it took a high grade point average and a little luck to get into the program that can almost guarantee a job after completion.

Calhoun opened room for 200 RN and 100 LPN newcomers when the fall semester began in August.

Peek said they filled every slot with qualified applicants, although some quit or never showed up when the school year began.

The school now has 416 nursing students, including 364 in the RN program and 52 in the LPN program.

She said a student can get most likely into the program if he meets the academic requirements.

Candidates must have taken high school algebra II or above, high school biology and chemistry, college-level anatomy I and II, and microbiology.

"It's a pretty friendly admission," Peek said. "And it doesn't have to be recent high school graduation as long as we can access your high school transcripts."

Peek suggested that a student should apply even if he doesn't meet all the requirements because school officials can help get the classes needed for acceptance.

May 30 is the fall semester deadline to apply for the RN and LPN programs.

The additional room is allowing the department to offer two seven-week, entry-level programs.

Students will learn to help with patients' hygenic needs, ambulatory needs and check vital signs as a nursing assistant or learn to manage and take blood in the phlebotomy program.

The department is also starting the delayed progress evening RN program, which extends a two-year degree from five to seven semesters. This allows students to slow the academic pace while they work during the day.

The program starts during summer term, so the application deadline passed March 1.

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