A nursing shortage is threatening not only Illinois but the entire nation. Enrollments in nursing schools are down. There is a shortage of nursing faculty in schools, and many current nurses are now at the age of retirement.
These are just some reasons why the nursing industry is in trouble right now. Luckily, Memorial Health System and LLCC have found a way to be part of the solution, not the problem.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, LLCC announced a new partnership with Memorial that will address that shortage. The college will now accept 90 more students per year to the associate degree nursing program. This will add up to a total of 215 new nursing students annually.
Memorial will provide about $6.1 million for the college to renovate the west wing of Montgomery Hall on the LLCC campus for a new nursing center, purchase state-of-the-art equipment and hire additional faculty and staff to recruit, advise and teach nursing students.
Associative Dean of Nursing Sonja Harvey says that prior to this change, LLCC has been expanding in increments, “In the beginning of 2019, we increased by an additional 8 students in our LPN to transition hybrid option… It was a small increase but that’s what we could do with our space.”
Students can expect to see changes to campus by next summer. This partnership will bring about more nursing students and a new simulation lab. To see these changes, look to Montgomery Hall, where this new lab will be.
LLCC’s response means a lot to the nursing program.
“I love this because we’re a community college.” Harvey says. “Our students stay here. People who come into town from Chicago, Peoria, and places like that go to University and then go back to big cities. But our students stay here, and they can locally complete their BSN (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) and still stay here in Springfield or surrounding areas.”
The partnership with Memorial was made to benefit not only the college but the community that this college belongs to, Harvey goes on to say, “We are providing a direct benefit to both of the hospitals in town. We’re doing what we can to take care of our people in our community, and that’s our definition here at Lincoln Land.”
In her speech, President Charlotte Warren explained why this new partnership has everything to do with that for which Lincoln Land stands: “This partnership between Lincoln Land Community College and Memorial Health System aligns with both of our missions: to improve the lives and health of the people in the communities we serve, and to be responsive to community needs.”