July 24, 2008

Crossroads Hospital, Rend Lake College Join Together in New Nursing Program

By Kandace McCoy, Mt. Vernon Register-News, Ill.

Jul. 24--MT. VERNON -- Crossroads Community Hospital and Rend Lake College have partnered together in a new nursing program to help offset the shortage of nurses in the medical field.

On Wednesday afternoon, representatives from the hospital and college welcomed three new nursing students who have been named recipients of a nursing scholarship offered through Crossroads Community Hospital. This is the first year for the scholarship program.

"We're aware there's a shortage of nurses," commented Kelli Lewis of the Allied Health Division at the college. "Because of that, Crossroads has partnered with Rend Lake College and the Rend Lake College Foundation to facilitate instruction for qualified applicants."

On hand to sign letters of intent were Lea Schulte of Mt. Vernon, Stacey Rockett of Dahlgren and Whitney Holland of Christopher.

"In response to the crisis shortage across the country, [Crossroads] wants to make sure we're helping good staff," said Debi Richardson, CCH director of marketing.

By signing the letter of intent, the students agree that for each year they dedicate to Rend Lake College in the nursing field, they will also be committed to work for the hospital.

"It's a win-win situation," said Beth Horton, CCH chief nursing officer.

Schulte, who has been employed at the hospital for the past five years, said she wanted to go further in the nursing field and was actually at work when CEO Ed Cunningham came to her personally and informed her of being awarded the scholarship. "I had to step around the corner and to cry. Without this [scholarship] I didn't think I'd be able to go [to college]."

Holland, a recent high school graduate, said she found the nursing profession inspiring. "I was really excited. It's nice to know you're set in a place and can focus on a degree."

Rockett was also excited to learn she was being awarded the scholarship. "My step-dad died of cancer and he had hospice nurses. They were awesome. I love the medical field."

The scholarship will provide a cost-savings to each student of abut $10,000, Lewis said, and will cover tuition, fees and books.

"The key is the selection [of recipients]," noted Pat Kern, president of the Rend Lake College Foundation, "and is the key of making this program a success."


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