Hospital and college staff work together Tuesday morning to transport 10 bed sets from Pinckneyville Community Hospital to the Rend Lake College nursing program. CLICK HERE for a larger image.
PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. – Pinckneyville Community Hospital has reached out to Rend Lake College students with scholarships for many years. On Tuesday, they went even further with that support by giving nearly $26,000 in hospital bed sets to the college’s nursing program.
Dr. Gynelle Baccus, Interim Director of Nursing at RLC, said the 10 bed sets will help fill equipment needs in the college’s nursing programs. She said each set includes a bed, bedside stand and over-bed table.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the board’s generosity and we are very appreciative of this donation,” she said. “These bed sets will be used to help us in teaching CNA students, Practical Nursing students and Associate Degree Nursing students.”
Pinckneyville Community Hospital CEO Tom Hudgins said RLC has and will continue to be a great asset and partner for the hospital.
“It’s been invaluable to have access to the college and the ability to train people to fill our needs,” he said.
The hospital and its board of directors – Chairman John Shotton, Vice Chairman Roger Smith, Treasurer Bill Roe, Secretary Leonard Heisner, Assistant Secretary David Pirsein, Assistant Treasurer Nelson Rule, Arlen Carson, Ed Hale and Gary Timpner – are no strangers to supporting nursing students at RLC. For years now, the Pinckneyville Community Hospital Scholarship and Educational Assistance Program has provided LPN and ADN students valuable scholarships for tuition, books, and fees. Scholarship recipients commit to work for one year at the hospital for each year of education toward their license or licenses.
Since 2000, 14 students have benefitted from this program. However, PCH’s financial commitment to not only recruit skilled professionals but help advance the careers of those already employed at the hospital, goes back to the 1990s. From registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, to lab technicians and radiologic technologists, RLC has been the school of choice for numerous employees at the hospital.
“[RLC’s] helped us in terms of staffing and to not have vacancies in an era when some places are struggling to find people to fill positions,” Hudgins said.
He said hospital officials looked at professional development in the ranks and found that time and ability wasn’t as much of a barrier for PCH employees as was cost. The hospital’s board of directors created a scholarship to RLC and in 1995, the first recipient became a physician’s assistant at the hospital. From there, the board decided to offer two scholarship slots for nursing and two for the technical side, Hudgins explained. In response to overwhelming demand, the board lifted the scholarship cap about eight to 10 years ago, and promotion was ramped up in the local high school and internally in the hospital.
“[The Board] said if they qualified then send them,” Hudgins said. “As long as there are openings here at the hospital. In the seven-plus years I’ve been here, we have always had an opening when someone came out of school.”
RLC gets them ready for the workforce and PCH expands on that education, as well as cross training between departments. Hudgins said it has been a rewarding process.
“You need to be in a position, in rural communities, to try and grow your own,” he said. “We have been ... successful in doing that and we will continue to support people going back to school in the areas where we have need. Looking at who we have here now and what we have done over the last five or six years, I would say we are in very good shape.”