SPRINGFIELD — Signaling a new era in local nursing education, Lincoln Land Community College in partnership with Memorial Health System today opened a state-of-the-art facility aimed at addressing the regional nursing shortage.
The new Nursing Education Center on the LLCC campus will allow 90 additional students to enroll in LLCC’s nursing program each year, for a total of 215 new nursing students annually.
“We are thrilled to open the doors of this new center with our Memorial Health System partners, just in time for the start of the fall semester,” said Ken Elmore, chair of the LLCC Board of Trustees. “The LLCC/Memorial Health System partnership addresses the need for more students to graduate from our nursing program and live and work in our communities, and aligns with both of our missions, to improve lives and serve our communities.”
“This facility marks a new era as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LLCC nursing program, which has produced nearly 4,000 nursing graduates,” added Dr. Charlotte Warren, president of LLCC. “Our nursing students will have access to the latest technology and equipment in this new center as they prepare for lifesaving and rewarding careers.”
A $6.1 million gift from Memorial Health System allowed LLCC to renovate the west wing of Montgomery Hall for the new center, purchase high-tech simulation equipment and hire additional faculty and staff. The partnership was announced in February of 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the last 18 months, the public has come to appreciate more than ever the incredible dedication, expertise and heroism of the nursing profession. Unfortunately, our region continues to experience a nursing shortage that has made the last few months incredibly more challenging,” said Ed Curtis, president and CEO of Memorial Health System. “The formal opening of this new LLCC Nursing Education Center is visible proof of the ongoing collaboration between LLCC and Memorial Health System to address the nursing shortage in this region. This state-of-the-art facility creates expanded learning opportunities for LLCC students and enables LLCC to continue to increase its nursing enrollment over the next few years.”
“Having been a nurse for over 40 years, I am thrilled to see the caliber of this learning environment and the tremendous support it will provide for the next generation of nurses in our region,” said Marsha Prater, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “Memorial is proud to employ so many LLCC nursing graduates here in Springfield and at our hospitals and clinics across the region. Like the students who are educated here at LLCC, we are deeply committed to meeting the health care needs of the people in the communities we serve. Supporting the future generation of nursing professionals is one way to do that. When we hire these LLCC graduates, we are confident they’ve developed strong knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of nursing, and that they reflect our organization’s values of safety, integrity, quality and stewardship.”
Tracy Madonia is entering her fourth semester of the LLCC Associate Degree Nursing Program.
“I chose LLCC to pursue my nursing degree for several reasons. When I began researching schools and meeting with advisors, LLCC stood out because of their affordable tuition and their impressive statistics, including the success of LLCC students on the NCLEX,” said Madonia. “I was excited to learn that Memorial, a four-time recipient of a Magnet designation, was partnering with LLCC to expand on their already stellar program. This allows more nursing hopefuls the opportunity to pursue their RN and fill a much-needed demand in the field of nursing. LLCC has provided us with the tools and supplies necessary to perfect our nursing skills.”
The Nursing Education Center includes:
- 1,900-square-foot nursing skills lab
- Simulation labs, including a labor/delivery lab
- Practice lab
- Office space for nursing program staff
A celebration of the new facility and the LLCC nursing program’s 50th anniversary will be scheduled in the future.