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HMH partners with WKU to create new Registered Nurse career pathway

WKU HMH NursingHardin Memorial Health (HMH) and Western Kentucky University (WKU) officials today announced a new partnership to remove financial barriers for HMH licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who want to advance their education and careers.

HMH will cover participants’ tuition up front, and participants will be able to continue working full-time while earning an Associate’s of Science in Nursing (ASN). At the completion of the LPN to ASN Program, participants will be eligible to take the licensure exam and become registered nurses.

HMH and WKU leaders, joined by HMH nursing staff, signed a Memorandum of Agreement during a ceremony at Hardin Memorial Hospital.

“Many LPNs working at HMH aspire to be RNs, but financial circumstances hold them back,” said HMH Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Sharon Wright. “Through this WKU partnership, our LPNs will be able to become RNs advancing their knowledge, skills and careers. That’s a win for our employees, their families, our healthcare system and the communities we serve.”

Greg Peel, an HMH Emergency Department LPN, called the program a gift-wrapped opportunity. College costs kept him from achieving his longtime career goal of becoming an RN, the 56-year-old said. Because of the new program, he is now looking forward to starting classes later this year.

While WKU will provide course delivery, advising and other student services, HMH will provide a clinical instructor, and clinical training will be completed at HMH. The curriculum includes one day of clinical instruction per week at HMH and online classes.

“This program addresses every obstacle that prevented me from seeing my way through to my dream of becoming a registered nurse,” Peel said. “HMH will cover the tuition, and online classes allow me to work full time while pursuing a degree.”

HMH’s commitment to cover tuition illustrates its dedication to employees, said HMH LPN Amanda Eldridge, who currently is pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) at WKU. She wants to advance her career at HMH, she said.

“I want to provide more to our patients and to work in all areas of HMH, and becoming an RN will allow me to do just that,” she said.

“We are very excited to partner with HMH to create this new ASN pathway,” said Dr. Mary Bennett, Director of the WKU School of Nursing. “It is critical that educational institutions and employers work together to develop programs that not only meet the needs of working healthcare professionals, but also position our healthcare systems and communities to meet the growing demand for registered nurses.”

Partnerships like these are invaluable, said HMH Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Myra Covault.

“It always make sense to invest in employees,” Covault said. “If a member of the HMH team wants to advance his or her nursing career, we support that. In turn, initiatives like the LPN to ASN Program help HMH recruit and retain the brightest nursing talent. That means the best for HMH patients.”

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