Nursing students going online to get ahead

One local technical center is helping its students go further in their careers.

For the past 49 years, the Kirksville Area Technical Center has graduated hundreds of students from its successful practical nursing program.

But about five years ago, the center reached out to Moberly Area Community College and began doing a dual online course in physiology and anatomy that counts toward college credit.

"This is a good first step to get those credit hours earned, and they're on their way to the next educational level," said Kirksville Area Technical Center Director Sheryl Ferguson.

"To articulate easier so the students can go all the way up to a B.S.N. or a Masters," said Practical Nursing Administrator Deb Slattery.

It has proven to help students as they moved on in their education.

"Every student (who) passes physiology and anatomy completes our program, passes boards and becomes a licensed practical nurse," Ferguson said. "We have an excellent pass rate on state boards, last year was 100 percent, and this year 95 percent."

"I think it's been great for the fact they can move on to get their R.N. degree," Slattery said. "It's a level of education that they need. Once they pass the course, they usually don't have any trouble with the rest of the program."

The online course is mandatory for all students involved in the program and is offered in the fall semester at the center. Administrators and staff are hopeful that this program's success will continue heading into the future.

"We expect our program to last another 49 years. As long as practical nursing is acknowledged by the state, we plan on being here," Slattery said.

The Kirksville Area Technical Center's practical nursing program takes about 31 students a year and runs from late August through July.

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