CLAREMONT, N.H. (WCAX) According to industry experts, the need for nurses in health care is extremely high. At River Valley Community College in Claremont, New Hampshire, a new program is aimed at filling that void.
"I want to advance myself so I can make more money," said Francine Bowman of Woodsville.
Bowman is getting ready to go to college. The licensed nursing assistant just enrolled at River Valley's brand new LPN program.
"My kids are out of college now and I am ready to do something for myself that is productive and get my brain back in gear," she said.
And Bowman is not alone.
"We had well over 100 inquiries before it was even public," said Eileen Glover, the director of the LPN program.
The licensed practical nurse program was made possible through funding in the last state budget, a multimillion-dollar investment called the "Next Generation Workforce Initiative," which Gov. Chris Sununu says will address a critical element of the health care workforce.
"An LPN works under the guidance of either a physician or registered nurse. They are part of the health care team who contributes to the care of the patient," Glover explained.
River Valley already has a registered nurse program which is one step up from the one-year LPN certificate. Higher education officials say the community college setting offers a flexible opportunity for advancement.
"Come back, do the nursing program at a later date. They can go into a different area of medical, whether it be respiratory, radiology, oncology, occupational therapy or physical therapy. But it creates stackable credentials to really build their career and go forward," said Alfred Williams, the president of River Valley.
The program in Claremont will eventually move to River Valley's Lebanon campus and other colleges in the state system.
Bowman is on board.
"That's the goal," she said. "The goal is to get at least a two-year RN."
There are currently 16 students enrolled in the program in its first year. Officials at the college say they will all have jobs waiting for them once they receive their certificates.