Partnership to benefit area nursing students

A partnership between Bevill State Community College and Kelley Health Services is promising to help area registered nursing students gain even more experience before graduation. Kelley Health Services, the parent company of Ridgewood Health Services and Ridgeview Health Services, will grant six Bevill nursing students a $350 scholarship to take their LPN certification test. Upon earning certification, those six students will work at Ridgewood and Ridgeview while they complete their RN studies. BSCC Director of Public Relations Tana Collins explained the college only offers a registered nursing track for students, which is a five semester program; however, after three semesters students can choose to obtain their LPN certification. This allows them to work at an area facility as an LPN while they finish the remaining two semesters of the RN program. By partnering with Kelley Health Services, six students will not only be able to take their LPN certification test free of charge, but they will be guaranteed a job while they finish nursing school. “They have to agree to the terms of working for two semesters at that facility,” Collins said, explaining the terms of the scholarship through Kelley Health Services. “It gives them the opportunity to be getting real life experience.” Joette Kelley Brown, the owner and president of Ridgewood/Ridgeview, said the partnership with the college was a no-brainer. She recently spoke to students at Bevill about applying for the scholarship opportunity, along with Ridgeview/Ridgewood Employee Relations Chaplain David Wallace and Ridgewood/Ridgeview Recruiter SuLeigh Warren. “The one thing I loved when we spoke to the students about this is when I looked across the classroom I thought about our directors of nursing at both Ridgewood and Ridgeview and how they are Bevill graduates. My sister, who is my work partner, is also a Bevill graduate. Many of our leaders in those facilities have been a graduate of the Bevill nursing program, and it’s been a huge benefit,” Brown said. “When I looked across that classroom I saw faces of the future in healthcare, and we’re just blessed to have Bevill State in our backyard.”

Brown said the six students who receive a scholarship will be employed at Ridgewood or Ridgeview once they receive their LPN certification in early 2018. Typical duties of the students will be giving medications to residents, taking vital signs, completing daily and weekly assessments, meeting with family members and supervising the halls they are assigned. Bevill students are also required to complete a preceptorship as part of earning their nursing degrees. Precepting consists of nursing students going to area hospitals or other healthcare facilities and working alongside nurses (preceptors), while gaining valuable hands-on experience. BSCC Dean of Health Sciences Penne Mott said she is excited for some of Bevill State’s nursing students to benefit through the new partnership. “I think it will be a great opportunity for our students to have the LPN fees covered and a great partnership for them to have employees too,” Mott said. “The students will be able to get some really good experience while working there.” Brown said another important component of the partnership is fostering an appreciation for working with the elderly. “I feel like geriatrics is such a special calling to care for God’s older children,” Brown said. “We just want to help cultivate that relationship with Bevill State and give them the experience they need to become great nurses.”