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Sandra Reed Wilson knows what it's like to make a career change halfway through life.

The Crowder College Director of Nursing relates well to the nontraditional students in the nursing and health science programs. Wilson made a career change and was a nontraditional student herself.

"I was in my 40s when I went back to college for my first nursing degree and haven't regretted that for a moment," she said.

Nursing is sometimes a career change for nontraditional students. To fully equip tomorrow's nurses, Crowder College sets high standards for testing and has certain requirements in place for success.

"Education is very demanding and takes a lot of study outside of the classroom to be successful," Wilson said. "We have high standards requiring test averages of 80 percent in order to pass core nursing classes."

Additionally, students are required to obtain a certified nurses assistant certification or an emergency medical technician certification before beginning the nursing program. Registered nurses often work 12-hour shifts and are on their feet the majority of that time, she said. It is not unusual for a staff nurse to walk five miles during that shift.

Requiring students to get their feet wet in the nursing field helps them realize what the job looks like.

"This allows students to perform some clinical work in long-term-care facilities, which introduces them to the rigors of nursing," she said.

Students who graduate are eligible to sit for licensure examination (National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX) and complete the process for state licensure, Wilson said. After they pass the state, the registered nurses often find immediate gainful employment.

Success rates for job placement is 100 percent, Wilson said. "There are employers standing in line, waiting to hire graduate nurses," Wilson said. "Some students choose not to accept employment until after they complete their testing and license application but they, too, are all offered employment and, oftentimes, they have their choice of jobs."

The campus has seen a great deal of success. The campus' location is convenient for students and draws folks from southwest Missouri, as well as northwest Arkansas. With a growing program and a supportive staff, the campus has pivoted itself to well-equipping its students, said Aaron Divine, Crowder College McDonald County Instruction Center director.

"As far as the success of our facility, it has to be the people," Divine said. "Everyone from the staff to the full-time and adjunct faculty genuinely care about the student's success. Crowder addresses the student as a whole person and the employees at our facility really take that to heart."

Students also find success with family support, which is critical.

Students who have children will need assistance with child care and transportation from time to time, Wilson said. Students who work while attending school will need family support to maintain responsibilities at home.

Those who choose the health-care industry have additional studies for which to prepare.

"Students often have to sacrifice attending family events when they have tests or clinicals," Wilson said. "In many ways, it is a sacrifice for the entire family."

Anyone interested in studies at the Jane campus may contact the facility. Wilson said those who are contemplating a nursing career may visit with a registered nurse who serves as the nursing support specialist and travels to all of the instructional sites.

About Crowder College McDonald County Campus

Crowder College's McDonald County Campus is a full-service community college that offers credit college courses in general studies, nursing, teaching and business.

In Jane, students who want to pursue a career in the health industry may earn a certified nursing assistant degree (CNA) that is certified through the State of Missouri DHSS, an emergency medical technician (EMT)/paramedic degree and an associate degree in nursing. Certified medical assistant and pharmacy technician degrees also are available.

An occupational therapy assistant program is offered but is available at the Webb City campus.

Students at the McDonald County campus can take advantage of various programs, some of which take less than one year to complete. For instance, students wanting to pursue certified nursing assistant certification can do so in just 16 weeks, with classes held on Thursday.

Crowder College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association. Crowder College is also affiliated with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and seeks approvals through the Coordinating Board of Higher Education, according to information provided on the college website.

General News on 03/08/2018

Print Headline: Studies Take Sacrifice But Worth It For Career

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