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Grant to help HCC nursing program

May 14, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN

Hagerstown Community College will be able to accept roughly twice as many nursing students, thanks to a $1.03 million grant that state officials awarded the college earlier this month.

During a Monday on-campus ceremony, HCC President Guy Altieri said funding for the five-year grant will start July 1.

By accepting more students, the college can produce more graduates with nursing degrees to help address a nationwide shortage in that field, he said.

HCC reports that annual graduation rates in the nursing program will increase from about 40 to 97 people as a result of the grant.

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Carolyn Albright, HCC director of nursing and health sciences, said additional nurses will continue to be in demand, in part, because people are living longer and need the care that nurses provide.

The grant will allow the college to enroll two nursing classes every year instead of one, she said.

"We've been very frustrated here at the college for a long time for only being able to admit one class a year," she said. "The ability to double the size of the class is going to be wonderful."

Albright said HCC offers an associate of science degree in nursing. After students graduate, they take an exam to become a state-certified registered nurse, she said.

The grant was awarded as the college is renovating the Career Programs Building, which houses HCC's nursing program.

Altieri said the renovation includes expanding the nursing portion of the building from 7,000 to 14,000 square feet, complete with anatomy and physiology laboratories.

Mark Rulle, human resources director at Washington County Hospital, said about 95 percent of the nurses that the hospital hires each year are HCC graduates.

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