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Mullins School marks National Nurses Week

Morning Journal/ Mary Ann Greier From left, Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing staff members Financial Aid Administrator Deb Baker, Administrative Assistant DeAnn Russell, Assistant Director Darla Shar and Director Christina Devlin gather in the simulation lab where students learn and practice some of the skills they’ll use in their nursing career. National Nurses Week kicks off Friday and continues through May 12. To learn more about opportunities at the school, visit hemspn.edu

SALEM — The Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing in Salem plans to mark National Nurses Week May 6-12 by recognizing staff and continuing to teach students the value of their profession.

“With students, we focus on contributions that nurses make to society and the contributions they will make as nurses,” HEMSPN Director Christina Devlin, MSN, RN, FCN, said.

“Nursing is still a fabulous career. I think people need to step back and realize that nurses still do wonderful things for the community,” she added.

The last two years have not been easy for nurses or nursing schools thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that COVID has been a struggle for everyone, but nurses carried a lot of that weight on their shoulders. They worked longer hours and were away from their families, working with short staffs and limited supplies.

According to Devlin, there’s a crisis, with some statistics showing nurses leaving the field, which she attributes to burnout.

“This is a time we need to champion nurses, to get behind them and support them, to recognize who they are and what they do for us. They are the backbone of health care,” Devlin said.

When the pandemic hit, the school did a combination of remote learning and hands-on training, making adjustments as needed so that all classes graduated with their clinicals and hands-on experiences.

Since COVID, the number of students enrolled at the school has dropped. The full-time class that graduated in August 2020 had 36 graduates. The class in August 2021 had nine graduates. The current class has eight students. The full-time program is 44 weeks stretched out over 11 months, with graduates earning a certificate as a licensed practical nurse and the ability to sit for the LPN licensure test.

Normally, the school has two full-time classes going at once and one part-time, but right now there’s just one full-time class and one part-time class. Clinicals take place at Salem Regional Medical Center, Alliance Community Hospital, St. Elizabeth/Mercy, St. Joseph and facilities like Crandall Medical Center and Auburn.

Most LPNs now go on to become registered nurses and HEMSPN has a pathway via a formal agreement with Kent State University allowing students to continue on for their RN through an associate degree or BSN with a bachelor’s degree.

HEMSPN also has federal financial aid students can access, student loans, workforce development funding through the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association and veterans training.

Devlin noted that the job opportunities are growing and hospitals are bringing back LPNs.

“We’re trying to lay down a strong foundation,” she said.

Instructors talk with students about the personal side of nursing, why they want to be nurses, the values behind nursing, the ethics behind nursing. They also talk about dealing with death.

And even though nurses make decent money, she said they have to realize there’s more to it than the money.

“It’s a calling,” she said.

The most recent part-time class to graduate in February scored a 100 percent passage rate for the LPN licensing exam.

“We were really excited and proud of them. They went through school during a very difficult time. That’s a testament to them and a testament to the faculty,” Devlin said.

The whole idea is to get them into the work force and as a technical school, she said HEMSPN offers a very structured program and offers a bridge or pathway to move on. Students come from all over, including other states such as California, North Carolina, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The school is located at the Kent State University City Center, 230 N. Lincoln Ave., Suite 3.

To learn more about opportunities at the school, visit hemspn.edu or call 330-332-8940.

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