UNCP, RCC create pathway for licensed practical nurse students

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UNCP RCC MOU
(left to right) Dr. Eva Meekins, director of Nursing at RCC, Dr. Cherry Beasley, interim chair of the Department of Nursing at UNCP and Dr Patrena Elliott, interim vice president of Instruction and Support Services at RCC, sign a Nursing Pathway MOU establishing a pathway for graduates of the LPN program at RCC to earn a bachelor of science in nursing at UNCP.

UNC Pembroke and Robeson Community College have cleared a path for licensed practical nurse (LPN) students interested in becoming a registered nurse.

Leaders from both institutions recently signed a Nursing Pathway Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a pathway for graduates of the LPN program at RCC to earn a bachelor of science in nursing. The agreement also includes students who complete paramedic training.

“Before the agreement, there was no clear pathway for LPN or paramedic students seeking their BSN,” said James Crouch, student success advocate with UNCP’s Department of Nursing. “We will now have a seamless pathway for these students. The agreement is broad enough to include future pathways as RCC expands their nursing program.”

After earning an associate degree in nursing at RCC, students will complete a one-year plan of study at UNCP. In 2011, the two institutions established a RN-BSN bridge agreement, however, it didn’t incorporate the licensed practical nurse or paramedic programs.

UNCP’s Department of Nursing was established in 1992 to provide seamless, high quality baccalaureate level nursing education to the region, according to Cherry Beasley, interim chair of the Department of Nursing at UNCP.

“This commitment now includes LPN to BSN, BSN, RN-MSN and MSN programs,” Beasley said. “This goal is only reached by the strong, collaborative partnerships among the region’s community colleges, practice agencies and UNCP. The BSN and MSN programs at UNC Pembroke are accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.”

UNCP will have the opportunity to attract qualified students into the RN-BSN program, according to Crouch. Students who utilize one of the pathways can graduate with their BSN in as little as three years. 

The MOU was signed on May 14 at RCC’s annual Nursing Advisory Council meeting. In attendance were Dr. Beasley, Dr. Eva Meekins, director of Nursing at RCC and Dr. Patrena Elliott, interim vice president of Instruction and Support Services at RCC.

“The RCC and UNCP Departments of Nursing have enjoyed a long-standing relationship aimed at advancing nursing education in the region,” Meekins said. “Starting with the RN to BSN articulation agreement over 10 years ago to now offering pathways for licensed practical nurses and paramedic graduates simply exemplifies both institutions’ commitment to life-long learning. We are grateful to UNCP for their leadership in the various educational pathways that will benefit our region.”

Elliott echoed Meekins’ sentiments, adding “Any day that we can create additional pathways to strengthen the nursing workforce in our region and state is a good day. We are so excited that our students have an additional avenue to aid them in reaching their desired career destination. We are equally grateful for the strong partnership that we continue to enjoy with UNCP.”