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Board of Trustees March 2024 Update

Submitted by on March 8, 2024 – 3:47 pm

Haverhill, MA (March 6, 2024)—On Wednesday, March 6, The Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees convened on the Haverhill Campus for its monthly meeting. At just under an hour, much of the meeting was devoted to the education report, during which Dean of Health Professions Kathy Hudson shared some exciting updates about the LPN to ADN (RN) Program and answered Trustees’ questions about health care programs in general.

LPN to ADN (RN) Program

The LPN to ADN (RN) Program at Northern Essex allows students who are already licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to earn their associate degree of nursing (ADN) in just two semesters. Whether they earned their LPN at Northern Essex or elsewhere, LPNs can receive credit for a full year of the associate degree by taking a summer transition course.
two nursing students look at IV bag next to hospital bed containing life-life training dummy

Dean Hudson shared that the program has been available since 2013. However, following a decline in enrollment during the pandemic, she and her colleagues reexamined the structure and found that some of the admission requirements were discouraging students.

“We weren’t changing the curriculum; we were changing the way students could come into the program,” noted Hudson. “We removed barriers and made it more accessible.”

One major change was rescheduling the transition class from a short intersession to a 6-week course over the summer semester, which allowed students to schedule it more easily in their busy lives. The results were almost immediate. Not only did they see an increase in applicants, they saw more students of color and first-generation students.

“We opened applications for fall 2024 in January, and we already have 34 applicants. Twenty-three of those are NECC LPN graduates. In health care, we talk about laddering: start with us, finish with us, then come back to us when you’re ready for that next step,” said Hudson.

Other changes to the program include embedding nursing tutors in all programs and expanding partnerships throughout the Merrimack Valley to offer new clinical learning opportunities.

The reassessment of the LPN to ADN (RN) Program is one initiative supported by a $300,000 grant from the Achieving the Dream (ATD) organization and is made possible by support from the Brave of Heart Fund. Hudson was instrumental in securing the grant in 2022. The funding is specifically for creating stronger pathways to employment in the nursing field, particularly for those students who represent the diversity of the communities they serve.

Giving Day 2024

Trustee Pati Fernandez, who serves on the Alumni and Advancement Committee, reminded her fellow board members about the college’s upcoming Giving Day. The third annual Giving Day will take place on April 4, 2024. NECC’s Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising effort that aims to unite alumni, friends, staff, faculty, and students toward a common goal: supporting the college and its students. In addition to encouraging support for the college’s annual fund (the NECC Fund), Giving Day celebrates healthy camaraderie and competition through a variety of themed challenges, prizes, and more. Learn more here.