HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Forrest General Hospital is investing $90,000 in a new nursing bridge program at Pearl River Community College. It will help licensed practical nurses become registered nurses.
“Nursing has been at a multi-million person shortage for years, but the pandemic really gave us a hard push for the need for nursing in the Pine Belt,” said Phyllis Chambers-Berry, chief nursing officer at Forrest General Hospital said.
The bridge program will help LPNs earn their full RN degree.
“Forrest General has been a great partner for us over the last several years, and especially since the pandemic has hit, they’ve worked with us on a variety of initiatives,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “When they came to us and stressed the importance of needing additional nurses in the area, we were happy to step up, happy to assist, and they’re providing the seed money for us to get this program started.”
Any current LPNs will be eligible to take night and weekend classes to complete their RN degree in less than a year.
“The opportunity is for them to be able to bridge,” Chambers-Berry said. “A lot of people have working families and often times they become LPNs first because it’s a quick way to begin their nursing careers, and this is a way to continue to graduate them. And I, myself, was an associate degree nurse as well. The ability to bridge to my BSN and bridge to my MSN and bridge to my doctorate, those are just great stepping stones so it’s going to mean a lot to this community.”
PRCC plans to continue funding the program following this investment from Forrest General.
“When a partner can come forward and offer funding to start a new program that can meet the needs of our local workforce, such as LPN to RN bridge, we believe that this program has a lot of potential to make a really huge impact in the Pine Belt,” said PRCC Vice President Dr. Jana Causey.
PRCC hopes to begin taking applications for the nursing bridge program in the next few months. If you are interested or have questions, the college asks you to reach out to their advising services.