Jacksonville University to offer Practical Nurse (PN) certification

February 24, 2022

In an effort to meet the growing need for nursing staff in local healthcare systems, Jacksonville University announced it is adding another pathway into the nursing profession with its one-year Practical Nurse program, offered in partnership with Baptist Health and the Jacksonville University Healthcare Simulation Center (HSC).  

The Jacksonville University Practical Nurse Program is designed to give students real-world, hands-on instruction to prepare them to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). Upon graduating from the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN), students are eligible to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and will have the opportunity to earn a work-promise agreement from Baptist Health. Baptist Health will provide a $2,000 scholarship to each student in the program.

“Our university’s thoughtful, future-focused discussions with longtime partners such as Baptist Health never stop; we stay close to them so we can be an agile partner in higher education,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “We are proud to partner with Baptist Health once again to create a program that responds to critical workforce needs and aligns with the strategic focus of regional healthcare providers.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 9 percent growth in LPN positions in the next decade. No prior clinical experience is required for the program, making it ideal for those looking to break into the nursing field or seeking a career change. Health systems are seeking to hire more LPNs as an effective way to improve patient-to-nurse ratios, quality of care and patient safety. 

“Licensed practical nurses play a critical role on our nursing team and are a vital part of our future. We look forward to working with JU to help grow and educate the future workforce for Baptist Heath and beyond,” said Tammy Daniel, DNP, MA, RN, NEA-BC, senior vice president and chief nursing officer for Baptist Health.

Starting in August, the Practical Nurse program will comprise a mix of premier classroom instruction, 45 hours in Jacksonville University’s cutting-edge, collaborative Healthcare Simulation Center located on Beach Boulevard, and 585 hours of real-world clinical practice in a local healthcare facility.

The 31,443-square-foot, state-of-the-art Healthcare Simulation Center resembles a hospital emergency room and allows students to train on high-fidelity medical manikins that breathe, blink and respond like real patients. It provides learners with invaluable experiential learning that complements an interdisciplinary course curriculum. 

Baptist Health is Magnet™-designated, which is considered the gold standard among health care organizations that meet American Nurses Credentialing Center standards for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice. The 20-year partnership between Jacksonville University and Baptist Health dates back to 1982 when the two organizations collaborated to establish what is now the Keigwin School of Nursing. In 2021, JU and Baptist Health partnered to create Florida’s only 12-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, receiving overwhelming demand for a limited number of student spots.

Jacksonville University will seek Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approval for the program. It is also pending approval from the Florida Board of Nurses.

Applications for Jacksonville University and Baptist Health’s Practical Nurse program are open now for the first cohort until April 15. To apply, visit ju.edu/lpn for details. 

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Katie Garwood

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