Deadline Approaches for RN Program

The deadline to submit applications for one of the country’s most innovative nursing programs is fast approaching, according to Jill Hasley, Program Director for the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC). ARNEC, based at six rural Arkansas community colleges, educates Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) to become Registered Nurses (RNs). 
“The deadline for applying for our next class is August 31st,” Hasley said. “LPNs who want a seat in our January 2008 class need to get an application packet and submit it before the deadline, or they will have to wait until January 2009,” she added. The packet is available at participating schools, or at www.arnec.org under “Application Information”.
Hasley went on to describe the need for the program. “There is a great shortage of nurses of all kinds in the US, and that shortage is being felt most keenly in rural areas.” According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, Arkansas will need between 27,000 and 30,000 Registered Nurses within the next four years.ARNEC addresses that need by enabling LPNs/LVNs to become RNs without requiring long-distance travel, giving up their jobs or families to pursue their education. Students graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing, enabling them to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
The program began in 2005 with 10 seats per school. This year, ARNEC will accept up to 20 students per school. “We added the seats because the demand was so strong,” Hasley said.
She described how the program works. “Lectures are delivered by interactive television Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 3:30–8:30; most clinical rotations take place every other weekend. Some students chose not to work, but this program is designed to accommodate the working LPN/LVN.” ARNEC has enabled six small colleges to provide their local medical communities with a stream of qualified RN applicants, many of whom they may already know.
Six Arkansas community colleges make up ARNEC. Their contact information appears below. Interested applicants are urged to contact the program chairs at the institution closest to them, or visit the ARNEC website, www.arnec.org, to download the application forms and to determine if they have taken the courses that are prerequisites for admission.
Arkansas State University - NewportPhyllis Worthington, 870-512-7842
RN Apps. / Admissions / 7648 Victory Blvd., Newport, AR 72112
White, Woodruff, Jackson, Poinsett & Craighead Counties
Black River Technical College (Pocahontas)Ramonda Housh, 870-248-4000 Ext. 4174
RN Apps. / Admissions / 1410 Hwy 304 E., Pocahontas, AR 72455
Clay, Randolph, Lawrence & Greene Counties
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (De Queen/Nashville)Sarita Floyd, 870-845-2454 Ext. 239
RN Apps. / Admissions / 1558 Hwy 371 W, PO Box 509, Nashville, AR 71852
Sevier, Howard, Little River & Pike Counties
Ozarka College (Melbourne)Ruby Johnson, 870-368-2077 
RN Apps. / Admissions /  218 College Drive Melbourne, AR 72556
Fulton, Izard, Sharp & Stone Counties
South Arkansas Community College (El Dorado)Kathy Modica, 870-862-8131
RN Apps. / Admissions / 300 South West Ave., El Dorado, AR 71730
Union, Bradley, Ashley & Chicot Counties
University of Arkansas Community College at MorriltonRachel Mullins, 501-977-2174
RN Apps. / Admissions /  1537 University Blvd., Morrilton, AR 72110
Yell, Perry, Faulkner, Conway, Pope & Van Buren Counties

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