The Path to a Practical Nursing Career Can Now Start in High School
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans high school students interested in nursing careers will soon have a free, three-year path to becoming Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) starting in 11th grade. The new pilot LPN apprenticeship program was developed by New Orleans Career Center (NOCC), Delgado Charity School of Nursing and Ochsner Health. Recruiting for a pilot cohort will begin in January for 20 seats. It is the only program of its kind in New Orleans.
“At NOCC, we prepare young people to be the city’s workforce of the future, to have the option and the training to enter satisfying, well-paid careers in high-demand sectors like healthcare,” said CEO Claire Jecklin. “The collaboration with Delgado and Ochsner creates an efficient new route to financially sustaining careers without the crippling burden of student loan debt.”
High school students accepted into the pilot cohort will begin their rigorous 36-month training in the fall of 2023. Training will be conducted year-round at NOCC, Delgado, and Ochsner. Funding comes from grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. Interested sophomores should speak to their high school guidance counselor or complete the pre-Nursing pathway interest form on the NOCC website. Although currently in the pilot stage, the partners expect to expand the program in the future.
“This new partnership between Delgado Charity School of Nursing, NOCC, and Ochsner Health is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to accelerate their career skills training in nursing so that they can become licensed, employed practical nurses as soon as possible after graduation from high school. Their educational and employment success as nurses will contribute to alleviating the shortage of trained healthcare professionals in our state. We are grateful to everyone involved in establishing this path-breaking opportunity,” said Cheryl Myers, PhD, Delgado Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs and College Provost and former Dean, Delgado Charity School of Nursing.
Trainees will complete coursework and clinical requirements equivalent to any other state-approved LPN program. Delgado’s Practical Nursing Program prepares the student for a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Practical nurses take care of patients including feeding, bathing and maintaining patient charts. They administer medication and monitor equipment. They also assess and monitor the health and illness of patients. Practical nurses are employed predominantly by physicians’ offices, home health agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics. Clinical experience makes up more than 50 percent of the program hours. Students learn patient observation skills, treatments, and medications.
In addition to the intensive healthcare and medical coursework, trainees will complete Impact Training at Ochsner, a workforce development program that gives participants hard and soft skill sets and knowledge to increase performance and become reliable employees. The program includes workplace ethics training, communication and problem-solving strategies, and technical skills like equipment training, safety procedures, and use of ancillary patient medical devices.
Workforce development programs are an integral part of a collective Healthy State by 2030 plan, a bold initiative by Ochsner and dozens of partners to lift Louisiana off the bottom of health rankings. As local hospitals and clinics continue to see workers depart, programs and partnerships with collaborators like NOCC offer tangible solutions to growing the healthcare workforce pipeline and to helping more local residents invest in their careers and financial stability.
“At Ochsner, we are thrilled to deepen our partnership with NOCC to reach new talent and deepen opportunities for our youth to enter and ultimately advance new careers in the healthcare industry,” said Missy Sparks, PhD, Vice President of Talent Management at Ochsner. “We have a key role to play to ensure young people in the communities we serve have opportunities to become more economically stable and have mobility in their careers.”
The pilot consists of a combination of industry-based credential certifications, dual-enrollment college coursework, clinical experiences, and workplace preparedness training. Upon completion, students will be eligible to apply to take the NCLEX exam required to exit nursing school and receive a practical nursing license. Louisiana’s PN Board assesses all applications for the exam.
About New Orleans Career Center
The New Orleans Career Center (NOCC) is the career and technical education hub for New Orleanians seeking entry into the region’s high-demand, high-wage employment sectors. We offer professional-level training for high school students, the LAUNCH fifth-year program for those who’ve just graduated from high school, and a Rapid Reskill program for adults. Since 2018, more than 1,000 local residents have gained the technical and soft skills they need to succeed in professional environments through hands-on training with industry and education experts. In 2023, NOCC will expand into its new building which will provide more than 140,000 s.f. of customized instructional space and nearly triple its training capacity.
About Delgado Community College and Delgado Charity School of Nursing
Delgado Community College is celebrating 100 years of service to the New Orleans region. The oldest and largest community college in Louisiana, Delgado provides instruction online and at seven locations. Delgado offers students the most comprehensive array of education and training services available in the New Orleans region. Additionally, Delgado has articulation agreements with most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities that allow students to transfer their Delgado credits to bachelor’s degree programs. As well as offering degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in many professional and technical areas. Workforce development is a priority at Delgado, hence the college’s well-known motto: “Education that works!”
Delgado Charity School of Nursing, established in 1894, has been a Delgado division since 1990. The school offers an associate degree for Registered Nurses as well as a Practical Nursing certificate program and Certified Nursing Assistant training. Delgado Charity School of Nursing is the #1 Best Value among all nursing schools in Louisiana, according to a 2022 study by Nursing Explorer. The online resource College Factual ranks the Delgado Charity School of Nursing as the #1 Associate Degree in Nursing program in Louisiana.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and heart transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including over 700 clinical studies. It has more than 36,000 employees and over 4,600 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 47 hospitals and more than 300 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls. In 2021, Ochsner Health treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries. As Louisiana’s top healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. To learn more, visit https://www.ochsner.org/.