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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Future nurses move into new home

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

(Photo)
Cathy Hutcheson, LPN instructor at the Sikeston Public Schools Practical Nurse Program, loads books onto shelves.
SIKESTON -- Students and faculty of the Sikeston Public Schools Practical Nurse Program moved into a new home Monday -- and right into the heart of Sikeston's medical community.

Located on the second floor of the two-story Sikeston Jaycee Regional Dialysis Center, the nursing school consists of three classrooms, one 20-station computer lab, a skills lab and a library.

"The space and storage here is phenomenal," noted Laura Hendley, director of vocational and adult alternative education for Sikeston Public Schools. "The decor is inviting. It never hurts to have new carpet and fresh paint."

Each classroom is equipped with smart boards, an LCD projector and TV/VCR capabilities. While several items were brought over from the old facility, there is some new equipment such as computers and furniture.

"We're excited," said Linda A. Boyd, director of Sikeston's nurse program. "Some of the students were so anxious they got here at 6:45 a.m. -- and class doesn't even start until 8 a.m."

The program provides facilities for 49 LPN students, Boyd and four other faculty members. Other programming includes the high school instructor of 25 students; one day nurse aide instructor of 12 students; one evening nurse aide instructor of 10-12 students; and an emergency medical technician instructor of 20-25 students.

It's an adjustment, admitted nursing student Jamie White, who is also president of Sikeston's current nursing class. Perhaps the biggest adjustment for the students is the new parking arrangements, White said.

Prior to their move from the program's location at the old First National Bank on Kingshighway, students were able to park right outside their building. At the new facility, students must park in the Missouri Delta Medical Center employee parking lot or in a lot behind Restart.

It's a little farther of a walk than the students were used to. It's about an eighth of a mile, Boyd noted.

However, a longer walk is a longer walk, and when seven spots on the side of the Center became available, and the program was told they could use them, the students created a parking lottery. Each week until Christmas, the class decided a different group will utilize the sought-after parking spots, White said

Overall, the students aren't complaining, White added.

"It's got a nicer lab than the old building. It's bigger. And the computer lab is nice, too," White said.

And when the time came to move, the nursing students pitched in, Boyd said.

"We boxed up, moved and took everything down and put everything back up," White agreed. "It really was a team effort."

With its location near Missouri Delta Medical Center and in the middle of Sikeston's medical community, Boyd said the students can only benefit from the location.

"When it comes time for clinicals, it will be wonderful since we'll be so close to the hospital. And when the hospital holds a teleconference or has a special speaker, we'll have access to that," Boyd explained.

With the dialysis center located on the first floor, students will have a chance to get to know some of those patients before they ever get into clinicals, Boyd pointed out.

The new facility should also help with recruiting new students, Boyd predicted.

"It's just a cleaner, nicer and more pleasant learning environment," Boyd commented.

Having been to many practical nurse program facilities, it would be hard to think of any place nicer than Sikeston's, Hendley said.

"Most facilities don't have separate labs and classrooms. They usually serve a dual purpose. We feel blessed to have such a wonderful facility," Hendley said.

It provides a real good learning environment -- It's state-of-the-art, Boyd said.

For the past 43 years, the Sikeston Practical Nurse Program has graduated between 20 and 50 students a year, Hendley said. An open house of the facility is expected to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 7.

"It's a new era for the nursing students of Sikeston Public Schools," Hendley said. "We're extremely pleased and proud of the new facility."