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27 March 2013

HACC’s Gettysburg Campus nursing program turns 10 years old

Program boasts 273 graduates who became registered nurses

GETTYSBURG – The associate degree nursing program at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013 with a series of events marking the occasion.

These events include a networking session on April 16, pinning/alumni celebration on May 9 and an advisory committee meeting May 14.

“Additional events will be announced as we continue to celebrate this milestone by recognizing our nursing graduates who now serve the community, our donors and community supporters,” said Marilyn Teeter, campus nursing director.

More than 270 students have graduated from the program since the initial class opened in January 2003 with 24 students. Two years later, the program expanded to enroll students for both spring and fall terms. Today, a total of 105 students enroll each term. Six nursing scholarships are offered through the HACC Foundation.

A growing demand for registered nurses prompted the College to expand its nursing program, established in 1969, to HACC’s Gettysburg Campus.

“Fifteen years ago, we realized that nurses were aging and leaving the profession, and the population was aging,” said Teeter. “It was forecast that we would need 400,000 more nurses by 2020 than would be available.”

It took nine months from initial talks to be up and running with a new nursing center dedicated Jan. 9, 2003. Classes started five days later.

In spring 2002, the College held preliminary meetings with now State Sen. Patricia Vance, R-31, and Ron Hankey, chair of the Gettysburg Hospital Foundation Board, to plan the expansion.

That fall, a provisional site approval was obtained from the state nursing board, and HACC’s lease was amended to renovate 6,000 square feet of space for a nursing center. At the same time, a partnership was announced with Gettysburg Hospital to establish the Gettysburg Hospital Health Care Learning Center at the campus.

Funding of $250,000 was obtained from Gettysburg Hospital Foundation, with contributions from Homewood Retirement Centers, Gettysburg College, Times & News Publishing Co., Adams County National Bank, Gettysburg Hospital Medical Staff, Gettysburg Hospital Auxiliary, Esther Little and other members of the community.

A testament to the program is that, since 2008, 99 percent of those who have graduated from the program at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus passed the licensure exam for Registered Nurses on the first attempt.

“We rely on continued community support for the success of our program,” Teeter said. “Our students have clinical experiences at facilities throughout the region.”

Those facilities include Adams County Head Start, Adams-Hanover Counseling Services, Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Chambersburg Hospital/Summit Health, Cross Keys Village/The Brethren Home Community, Gettysburg Hospital/WellSpan, Gettysburg Growing Place, Gettysburg Lutheran Retirement Village, Golden Living Center, Hanover Hospital, Homewood at Plum Creek, Lutheran Home Care Services, Mountain View OB/GYN, South Mountain Restoration Center, The Village of Laurel Run, Transitions Healthcare Gettysburg, LLC, Waynesboro Hospital/Summit Health, York Hospital/WellSpan and Wellspan VNA.

“In addition, our nursing program has benefitted from generous donations from community benefactors such as Tom Wolf, whose contribution two years ago made it possible for students to be among the first community college students in the state to use a high-tech simulated electronic medication administration system that mirrors real-life patient care in today’s hospitals and nursing homes,” said Teeter.

A partnership between the College, Wolf and a leading supplier of healthcare information technology solutions made it possible to add the Cerner Bridge Medical® medication administration training system to the program fall 2010.

“We are thrilled about this collaboration between Cerner, the donor and HACC to provide such an exciting, one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for our students,” said Marilyn Teeter, director of nursing programs at the HACC-Gettysburg Campus. “This cutting-edge technology in nursing education is not found in other Pennsylvania associate degree nursing education and licensed practical nurse programs,” she said.

The learning simulation software system and handheld scanners were made possible by a major gift donation of $15,000 from The Thomas P. and Marian G. Wolf Trust. The operating system was purchased through funds from the HACC Foundation.

Graduates of HACC’s Gettysburg Campus nursing program include Gary Laabs, a clinical nurse at Hanover Hospital; Marlene Crouse, a nurse manager at The Gettysburg Hospital; and Amy Helsel and Tara Slagle, who, in addition to their clinical positions, are also adjunct faculty at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus. All four are registered nurses.

The program received added attention in summer 2012, when Jenna Rembecki, a graduate of the nursing program at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus, received the American Red Cross Hero Award for saving the life of a drowning child at an area swimming pool.

“HACC’s nursing program has been a positive venture for the people of this region,” said Kris O'Shea, vice president of Patient Care Services at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital. “Healthcare providers, such as the hospital, and the people they serve have benefitted from having trained nurses to help meet the needs of the community. For people interested in starting a nursing career, the program provides a path to success.”

Six scholarships are available to qualified students who enroll in HACC’s Gettysburg Campus associate degree nursing program. The scholarships are Gettysburg Hospital Faith Redding Memorial Scholarship, Esther Little Scholarship in Nursing, Twila Charles Memorial Nursing Scholarship, Margaret Trew Cline Foundation Scholarship, Tom and Jeune McGlaughlin Scholarship and Dr. William F and Mrs. Jennifer M Railing Scholarship Endowment.

Students can go to to conveniently apply online for scholarships.

For further information, contact:
           M. Pamilla Saylor, Director Media Relations
           Office telephone: 717-780-2533

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