If you need a nurse, an EMT or assistance from a healthcare professional in Lake County, chances are good that you'll be treated by a College of Lake County graduate.
That's because over the past five decades, fully 16,000 students have graduated with associate degrees or certificates in healthcare-related fields, from nursing to medical imaging, according to college data.
The above total includes 3,500 graduates in the Associate in Applied Science in nursing program, which stays current with changing technology. In the last five years, the program has expanded its use of human patient simulators (high-tech mannequins) to represent not only adults but children, infants and maternity patients.
"Faculty use the simulators to help students critically think and develop decision-making skills to care for a patient without jeopardizing a real-life patient," said Dr. Carmella Mikol, nursing program chair who has taught at CLC for 37 years. "Our program also has adopted electronic textbooks for students, and we've expanded our clinical experiences from traditional hospitals to outpatient settings, hospice care, day care centers and elementary schools."
Another strength of CLC's program, Mikol explained, is faculty with advanced degrees plus decades of work and teaching experience. "The 15 full-time professors in CLC's nursing A.A.S. and certified nursing assistant programs have more than 185 years of combined teaching experience at CLC," she said. "Each professor has a master's degree in nursing or higher and either has a doctorate or is working on one. And all adjunct professors in both programs have a master's degree in nursing and more than 135 years of combined teaching experience at CLC, teaching primarily clinical courses."
The nursing A.A.S. program provided a strong foundation for Sandy Beta, who graduated in 1999. She began her nursing career with Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion in 1998, as a nurse's aide while enrolled as a CLC student. She is now a nurse practitioner, having earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from Olivet Nazarene University, one of CLC's guaranteed transfer admission partners. Beta also earned a post-graduate, family nurse practitioner certificate from Concordia University-Wisconsin.
"I received the best nursing education at CLC," Beta said. "All of the instructors have worked as nurses, and they share their experiences in the classroom. The instructors also know current policies and practices, such as the latest regulations governing preparation for surgery."
Beta spoke highly of Mikol, who in 2016 was one of 18 distinguished nurse educators inducted into the prestigious National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education, which consists of only 234 fellows.
"I considered Dr. Mikol my mentor," Beta explained. "She was straightforward, and she clearly explained what we needed to know to be effective nurses. She also stressed critical-thinking skills and empathy, that is, the need to put yourself in the patient's position. Dr. Mikol and the other instructors helped us prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination, and when I found out that I had passed, I was elated."
Beta said she also appreciated CLC's variety of evening, Saturday and online courses, which allowed her to juggle roles as college student, mom and wife.
In addition to flexible scheduling and experienced faculty, Mikol provided additional statistics:
•Fully 92 percent of the nursing students passed the National Council Licensure Examination on the first attempt in 2017.
•CLC has partnerships with the following schools offering bachelor's degrees in nursing: Northern Illinois University; University of St. Francis; University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Indiana Wesleyan University; Loyola University Chicago and Purdue University-Northwest; the University of Illinois-Chicago; Olivet Nazarene University; and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. The latter three are affiliated with the University Center of Lake County in Grayslake.
For more information on CLC's nursing program and the prerequisite certified nursing assistant program, visit www.clcillinois.edu/programs/nur.
To discover more extraordinary things you might not know about CLC, visit www.clcillinois.edu/topten throughout the 2017-18 academic year.