Nursing Advisory Meeting Minutes

Joint advisory committee for LLCC associate degree nursing (ADN), practical nursing (LPN) and basic nurse assistant (CNA) programs.

May 6, 2022, 9 a.m.

Meeting Place

Microsoft Teams


Sonja Spencer, associate dean of nursing


Members in attendance

Sonja Spencer, Cynthia Maskey, Kimberly Young, Sandra Chvala, Joi Kazenski, Marcie Leonard, Kimberly Conover, Dee Hood, Kay Sill, Laura Rhodes, Sarah Laurent, Cathleen Ferguson, Karen Sanders, Gail O’Neill, Stacey Hull, Melanie Sanner, Keri Mason, Michelle Brookens, Robin Ackman, Jo Turley, Jill Chamberlain, Jamil Steele, Connie Pitts, Robin Cross, Karen Baur, Jessie Blackburn, Donna Satterlee, Mary Goldstein, Brooke Greenwood, Dianne Hacker, Bethany Vanderwal, Kristin Hickam, Lori Large Oldenettel, Melissa Rice, Patti Sellers, Marybeth Hentrich, Janet LoVerde, Jen Withers, Carrie Jacobs, Bridgette Hudson, Amanda Roche, Brenda Michel, Debra Tisckos, Ana Till, Sherri McLaughlin, Will Hernan, Amy Niehaus, Joan Libner, Cindy Malinowski

Members absent



  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Review/approval of December 2020 minutes
  3. Department personnel changes
  4. Program updates
    • CNA
    • LPN
    • ADN
  5. Agency updates
    • Memorial Health Systems
    • Springfield Clinic
    • Sangamon Department of Public Health
    • SIU
    • CASPN
    • Benedictine
  6. Representatives


1. Welcome and introductions

  • Sonja Spencer welcomed everyone, announced each attendee and introductions were made, each sharing their title and agency representing. 

2. Review/approval of December 2020 minutes

  • Jill Chamberlin motioned to approve the minutes with no changes. Ana Till second. All in favor. Motion carried. 

3. Department personnel changes

  • Sonja Spencer shared the following updates:
    • May 2021 brought the retirement of two longtime ADN faculty members: Janice Badgett and Theresa Till.
    • August 2021, we welcomed two new full-time faculty members to ADN: Marcie Leonard and Travis Rath.
    • Fall 2020 brought Mary Russo’s retirement from LPN in Jacksonville.
    • Kimberly Conover was hired as the new faculty for Jacksonville LPN.
    • August 2021, ADN welcomed two new lab professionals: Brooke Greenwood and Kay Sill. With the move to our new facility, there is now more lab room which has allowed more open lab time for students. Both Kay and Brooke are available to assist students in open labs. Brooke assists with simulations as well.
    • This May (2022) we say goodbye to ADN faculty Pam Bradley and Connie Costello as they will be retiring at the end of this semester.
    • ADN has hired two new faculty members to begin in August 2022 semester: Jeni Noble, who will be teaching and leading clinicals for fourth-semester students, and Sarah Owens, who will be teaching and leading clinicals in the LPN to ADN transition program. 

4. Program updates


As coordinator of the CNA program, Dr. Cynthia Maskey provided the following updates:

  • Academic year 2020-2021 we had 227 students, 84% of the first day attendees completed.
  • Eleven of those who did not complete were related to COVID.
  • Academic year 2021-2022 we had 162 students, with 75% of first day attendees completing.
  • Six of those who did not complete were related to COVID.
  • CNA has had staffing and enrollment issues, sometimes related to each other.
  • Several COVID-related incidents such as fake COVID vaccine cards, which the Health Department was able to assist in identifying the fakes. This ultimately resulted in the students’ dismissal from the program.
  • CNA students are required to be vaccinated as the clinical sites they attend are long-term care facilities. In an effort to protect vulnerable citizen populations, long-term care facilities require all students to be vaccinated, with no exceptions.
  • For the summer 2022 session, we are offering 88 seats, currently 75% have accepted with the anticipation to have a full cohort starting in June.
  • Personnel changes in CNA program as well. Nancy Walton retired since our last meeting in 2020. Angie Smith came on board as CNA faculty in fall 2021.
  • May 2022, Peggy Wilson is retiring from Jacksonville. Megan Deaver will begin as CNA faculty fall 2022.
  • New adjuncts are being trained. A new requirement is for them to be CPR instructors. The Health Department does not require adjuncts with a bachelor’s degree to have Train the Trainer training, however we are now requiring it. The belief is that for adjuncts to be effective faculty members, they should have this training as well in effort to maintain the quality of the program.
  • Becky Durbin is returning as an adjunct faculty, and Katie O’Neill is a new returning faculty.
  • Academic year 20-21 had 237 graduates test with an 85% pass rate.
  • Academic year 21-22 had 172 graduates test with a 93% pass rate.
  • This shows us that when we were able to return regularly to clinicals, pass rates increased.
  • New IDPH requirements are for students to present an original social security card to be enrolled in program. Students are not permitted to even attend class until original (not a copy of) social security card is presented. This has been a challenge for several students, and we have had to delay their start as a result.
  • Clinical site requirements now require students to have a drug test as well as a full set of immunizations. With courses being just eight weeks long, this has proven challenging in moving students along.
  • In 2020, the Beardstown program fell below the 75% required pass rate. A Plan of Correction has recently been completed and is in review presently. This decreased pass rate was a result of the inability to attend clinical during the early months of the Covid pandemic. 

Sonja Spencer provided the following updates:

  • Spring 2021 the program had accreditation review and were granted continued accreditation for both programs, Jacksonville and Hillsboro.
  • The program fell short in four out of six standards. There will be a revisit scheduled.
  • Changes in curriculum will have been made as well as a faculty change. Mary Russo, longtime faculty in this program, has retired, and Kimberly Conover has been hired.
  • HESI is no longer being used. ATI has been implemented to use throughout the student’s time in the program. The students seem to like ATI.
  • ATI is a remediation and testing resource for students to utilize while in the program. In the final semester of the program, the students take a comprehensive predictor exam that will indicate how they will do on their boards.
  • We are seeing improvements in pass rates since the implementation of ATI in the program. Our pass rate fell below 64% in 2020, placing the program on warning with the state and requiring a Plan of Correction.
  • In 2021, the program was removed from warning as pass rates had improved to 83%.
  • Enrollment in Hillsboro was 11 at start and currently has nine. Enrollment in Jacksonville started with 20 and currently has 16.
  • Sonja Spencer shared a graph which reflects Jacksonville applications have increased, while Hillsboro applications appear to be on the decline. The application cycle has been extended the past several cycles to have enough students to start a new cohort. 

Sonja Spencer provided the following updates:

  • ACEN accreditation visit took place in spring 2021 and the program was granted continued accreditation.
  • The program has been in its new home in the Nursing Education Center in Montgomery Hall on main campus for a full academic year now. The space is wonderful, and students have loved having the extra skills lab practice space as well as the simulation labs. As mentioned previously, the addition of the two lab professionals offers students more open lab practice time.
  • The renovation and subsequent move enabled the program enrollment to increase from 48 incoming students each semester to 60 students per semester.
  • The Simulation Lab has been utilized by each clinical course in the ADN program. Additionally, Occupational Therapy & Respiratory students have used it for interdisciplinary simulation lessons.
  • Leslie Catalano was hired as the simulation coordinator in 2020 has created several remote simulations that students were able to complete during the pandemic when clinical was not possible. She has continued to create simulations for students to complete when they have been out for Covid-related absences.
  • Academic year 2021 had 97 graduates with a completion rate of 87%.
  • Fall 2021 graduated 73 and anticipate 52 graduating spring 2022 (final exams are next week) for a completion rate of 94%.
  • NCLEX pass rates in 2020 were 91% and currently for 2021 at 84% with students still testing.
  • Enrollment for fall 2022 is currently full at 60 for the day traditional cohort and 20 for the evening traditional cohort.
  • December 2021 graduated the pilot hybrid evening traditional cohort. The group started with 20, graduated 17 and have had 15 pass boards to date. The objective was to complete one cohort through as pilot prior to starting next cohort. Reviews were completed for areas to improve, and changes have been implemented for the next cohort beginning in fall 2022. Dee Hood will continue as the primary faculty in this evening program.
  • LLCC Workforce Institute hired Jeffrey Martin as Workforce Recruitment and Placement Coordinator. In an effort to reach a broader range of students and plant a seed early, Jeffrey has begun regularly touring middle and high school students through all of the Health Professions programs. Sonja Spencer has been working with Jeffrey Martin on the potential of creating pipelines for health care track high school students taking dual credit courses. 

5. Agency updates

Memorial Health Systems

Karen Baur stated that MHS has efforts underway to find a sense of normalcy within the COVID environment. The Nursing Well-Being Counsel has been created to address issues pertaining to mental health and wellness. The council is looking to create partnerships that provide nursing team members assistance in decreasing stress, increase resiliency, and bring joy to the workplace with activities. A recent activity day included game
and Zen rooms. Employees were encouraged to participate in games or relax by getting a massage.

The organization is addressing changes in work atmosphere over the last few years. Overall MHS is implementing strategies to help employees cope in stressful environments. To adjust to that, they are working with other hospital affiliates within the system to have a counsel at all sites. This will allow all sites to be more user friendly with customers such as academic partners.

In addition, a “kudos” card has been developed that the nursing team can use when they see a student performing well. These cards are given to faculty who can share with the students. We want to provide feedback as it would be part of the learning journey for the student. Robin Cross from MHS stated in a case where the nursing team member does not get the card to a faculty member, the nurse manager will pass it on to her. She will forward it to the faculty member to ensure the students are recognized and get the kudos they deserve.

Springfield Clinic

Jill Chamberlin stated that the organization is in the same boat as everyone else and are trying to find creative ways to build those pipelines. Our community and communities across the nation are experiencing the
same things. There is a challenge of even getting our young ones interested in health care. The trends over the next few years will be interesting.

The Clinic has various programs in development and partnerships with various schools. Jill asked Will Hernan and Bethenny Vanderwal to share their insight as they have been leading those efforts while my team works more with placement for clinical rotations and hiring after graduation.

Will Hernan spoke on these initiatives. Springfield Clinic is seeing the same challenges as everyone else with regards to interest in health care. The organization strives to be more intentional in the partnerships with schools and figuring out how to be more creative. To draw more interest in health care, they are reaching out to community groups and programs to partner with them and market Springfield as a health care hub. The point is to showcase health care careers for middle through high school students. SC is hoping to offer off-site opportunities for health care camps or a health care week that will show younger kids what health care is and highlight careers for them. It is going to be important to collaborate and create partnerships throughout the community. These partnerships and collaborations are part of SC’s future strategy.

Sangamon Department of Public Health

Gail O’Neill stated that just like everyone else, they have had their hands full with COVID and trying to find a new norm. They want to provide experience for students. It is challenging for them because of additional duties. Debbie Tisckos and Jan are attending today as newer nursing directors within the department. They are short staffed, and the number of changes has created more challenges than solutions.

Their department is thrilled to hear what is going on in the student community. It is great when they can hire a newly graduated student who may have trained with them. Public health is different than most hands-on nursing positions and it can be challenging to find staff. There is the idea that new graduates are ready to use the skills they learned and there is a lack of opportunity within the public health facility.

Gail asked Debbie Tisckos and Jan to address the meeting. Debbie Tisckos stated that continued the discussion about a lack of hands-on care at their facility. She mentioned grants that have been received and oftentimes require nurses. She also stated having students at the facility is helpful and plans to take the opportunity to look at how students can be best utilized. 


Jo Turley stated that as a sister academic institution, SIUE is interested in the students. They work CASPN students and have done clinical rotations with them. SIUE Specialty is really an underserved population. To that end, there is a special program and family medicine for children in foster care. SIU sees more Medicaid patients than anyone outside of the Chicago area. They have a federally qualified Health Center that meets the needs of homeless, uninsured patients as well as a community outreach program.

There are opportunities for student involvement. If there are students who have a particular interest in this type of care, they are welcome. Through a six-to-eight-week internships, there are CASPN interns who rotate Pediatrics several additional days a week to shadow. Shadowing has helped them to progress. SIU
internships pair students within their specialty.

The conversation continued with specific questions and answers regarding on-site requirements for faculty to monitor students. Turley stated faculty members do need to be on-site but are welcome. The specialty department completes an evaluation of the student and shares with the school. SIU has outreach programs
and off-site clinics that can host students. Students are match to these through their home address.


Diane Hacker stated the program is facing a decline in student numbers. There is student interest, but no follow
through of enrollment. Classes are being held in person. There have been issues with students turning in fake COVID vaccination documents. Those students were dismissed from the program. Students have struggled with various life problems that prevented them from completing.

Hacker expressed concerns about ACEN moving to 100% completion instead of 150% completion. This could affect numbers negatively. Concerns were also about students staying in compliance for TB. The situation is complicated by expense to students.

Further discussion ensued regarding this topic with Joi Kazenski and Bridgette Hudson sharing students are limited to certain sites as well as some of this is policy driven by site. Jen Withers from Sangamon County Health Department stated that Sangamon County Health Department offers two-step TB skin testing Monday through Friday with the exception of Thursday. They are open until 6 p.m. on Monday. The cost is $15 per step. This information will be shared with students.


Joan Libner stated the college launched a post-master certificate program for nurses. In fall they are launching a DNP program focused on executive leadership in collaboration with Goodwin College of Business. A position for DNP director is open.

Janet LoVerde joined the conversation to discuss BSN completion. The BSN program completion rate is at 90%. The course is primarily hybrid. Course revisions are taking place in pathophysiology, clinical, community to make them more focused. Enrollment is down possibly due to COVID slump. Students are reporting being more stressed and less prepared coming out of ADN programs. They are taking longer to take the NCLEX. On the job,
new nurses are reporting losing mentors and preceptors. Overall life circumstances are causing angst for students. Also, of COVID related issues that continue to crop up. 


  • Michelle Brookens – Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance has funding available for summer coursework.
  • Laurie Rhodes – Reminder that the LLCC Childcare Center received a grant (CCAMPIS – Childcare Means Parents in School) that assists students with childcare. Currently about 90% of the participants are nursing students. Please share this information with students.


Joi Kazenski motioned to adjourn. Jill Chamberlain seconds motion. No opposition. Meeting adjourned.