LPN Admissions Suspended
NMU will suspend admission to its Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) certificate program starting in 2011- 12. But currently enrolled students and another cohort finishing their prerequisites will have an opportunity to complete their studies.
In developing a 10 percent budget reduction plan, as requested of all university departments last year, the School of Nursing determined that it could reach the goal by not replacing three professors scheduled to retire over the next two years. Remaining faculty would remain intact. But because admissions numbers in one of the programs would be impacted by the looming retirements, the School of Nursing reviewed its strategic plan that prioritizes programs according to national need, student demand and the availability of similar programs at other Upper Peninsula institutions. Bay College, Gogebic Community College and Lake Superior State University offer LPN certificates. NMU offers the only nursing master's degree in the region.
“It was determined that the strongest, largest and most in-demand program is our BSN, or bachelor's degree program,” wrote Kerri Schuiling (Nursing) in a February letter to those impacted by the decision. “By moving faculty who teach in the LPN program over to the BSN, our university would be able to not only maintain the four-year program, but perhaps even expand it in the future. Combining faculty also permits a viable nursing graduate program to continue to be offered to students in our region, thereby meeting an ever-growing demand for nurses with advanced degrees.”
Two anticipated rule changes from the State Board of Nursing also contributed to the decision because of their budgetary impact. One would reduce student/faculty clinical ratios, increasing the cost of instruction. The other would require all nursing programs—including those at the certificate level—to be accredited. Northern’s LPN program has always been board approved, but Schuiling said accreditation requires a major investment of financial resources and faculty time.
“As we move further into the future and our budget situation becomes clearer, NMU may want to revisit this decision and again offer a certificate LPN program to students,” she added. ”At this point, it’s most important to be judicious with the resources we have by protecting the programs for which there is the greatest need and demand.”