Holmes graduates inaugural hybrid practical nursing class Holmes Community College kicked off the inaugural class for the hybrid Practical Nursing program in the spring of 2019 and celebrated that class' graduation on June 25. The hybrid program graduates, who shared a pinning ceremony with the face-to-face track class, included: Erin Hopkins of Richland, Sherita Latiker of Carthage, Lisa Nipper of Chatham, Jennifer Potts of Water Valley, Brandy Raines of Pontotoc and Cherry Singh of Ridgeland.
"The inaugural graduates of the Holmes Hybrid Practical Nursing class exceeded my expectations," said PN Chair and instructor Dr. Christi Blair. "I am so proud of all their hard work. They were the first in the state to complete the Practical Nursing program in a hybrid format and we look forward to admitting our second class in August."
Jennifer Potts was named Valedictorian for the inaugural hybrid class while Cherry Singh and Brandy Raines were named salutatorians.
"I have always wanted to be a nurse since I was young, but it just never seemed like the right time to go to nursing school," Potts said. "This hybrid program just opened at the right time to fit my schedule. I work full-time and my husband J.J. and I have two children, Leah and Cole. We are members of Anchor Baptist Church and have a small family farm that keeps me busy on top of everything else. I appreciated that it was possible to work, still have time for my family and complete the program. Holmes' nursing programs also have a good reputation for being some of the best around.
"I was sad that (due to the pandemic) I missed several clinical sites that I was looking forward to," Potts said. "However, this program still allowed me to get my degree while working full-time. I am actually staying at the current medical clinic where I work and I plan to also do some PRN work in other areas to gain knowledge in different fields. I can say I am honored to be picked as one of the first students for the pilot hybrid program. All the staff members were very helpful with anything I needed during the program. I could not have been more pleased with my experience at Holmes."
The hybrid program is a part-time program that runs over five consecutive semesters. All classroom work is online with lab and clinical work completed face-to-face. This format allows students to continue working while taking part in the nursing program.
"We are very excited to graduate our first class from the Hybrid Practical Nursing program," said Vice President of Career Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington. "Thanks to the instructors for pushing ahead with this new program option and making it a success. We are so very proud of these graduates."
The Practical Nursing program prepares students to assist in providing general nursing care under the direction of a registered nurse, licensed physician or dentist. The program also provides intensive preparation for the NCLEX-PN Exam and help with transitioning from student to employee.
"I liked that the lectures were online," said graduate Sherita Latiker. "This allowed me to go back and listen to the lectures as many times as I needed to. I also like that I only had to come to campus to take tests and do labs, although there were times I had to take time off work in order to make it to lab. Overall, I really enjoyed the program. I think it is a good alternative from the face-to-face class format because you can work and do the program. I would definitely recommend this program to future potential candidates; I truly enjoyed it."
Potential students must have a high school diploma or a High School Equivalency (HSE) certificate and provide official transcripts from all schools/colleges previously attended. Applicants must also have a minimum of a 20 on their ACT to apply, which is higher than required for the traditional Practical Nursing program at Holmes. Although college credit is not required for application to the program, applicants with any college credit must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be considered for selection.
Admission is selective based on such criteria as: ACT score; college credit GPA; current healthcare licensure (EMT, Paramedic, Certified Nursing Assistant, Surgical Technology) and in-district status. College prerequisites are not required.
"To say one is first can be both frightening and exhilarating," said Director of Health Science Programs Ginger Meriwether. "Holmes offered the first of its kind in Mississippi for Practical Nursing, the hybrid program. These students have to be motivated and self-disciplined enough to work through assignments and meet deadlines while keeping pace with the demands of nursing education. We are excited to be graduating the first of this cohort.
"Dr. Christi Blair had an epiphany one day and from her ideas, the hybrid program began," Meriwether said. "Dr. Blair has been instrumental in getting the students to this point, and I admire her work ethic and dedication. I am proud of all of the students who have hung in there and arose to meet the challenges of this program. I cannot thank each campus enough for helping to ensure these students were well-cared for and accommodated. From practical nursing instructors, associate degree nursing instructors, counselors, EMS instructors, administrative assistants and beyond, everyone worked to help these students achieve their goals. I am proud to say, truly, there is 'No Place like Holmes!'"
For more information on the Holmes PN program, visit the Practical Nursing Webpage or contact Dr. Christi Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 472-9173.