Students in Southcentral Alaska soon will have a new opportunity to pursue careers in health care. The Alaska Vocational Technical Center will add a licensed practical nursing program to its curriculum beginning next month.
"There is a nationwide nursing shortage; it's not just Alaska," said program coordinator J. Keegan Casteel. "We're trying to respond to the needs of industry."
The center already offers a certified nursing assistant program and plans to eventually add a second-year program for students to earn associates degrees in nursing, Casteel said.
In the meantime, graduates of the new program will be certified to take the state licensing exam to become licensed practical nurses.
LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses, physicians or dentists taking vital signs, giving medication, providing personal care and planning treatment.
The 11-month program will be offered at the center's Allied Health Department in Anchorage. Students will take classes and participate in clinical work at area hospitals and long-term care facilities six hours a day, four days a week, from Aug. 19 through Aug. 1, 2003.
"Our hope is that in the future we'll be able to do some distance delivery, but initially it will be in Anchorage," Casteel said.
About 20 students will be accepted to the program each year, he said. Prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED, documentation as a certified nursing assistant and basic academic courses including anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and English.
For more information on the LPN program, call Casteel at (907) 334-2230. Information on additional AVTEC programs offered in Seward is available by calling (907) 224-4163.
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