Martha “Marti” Trudeau calls it a “perfect storm.”
Nurses are leaving the field as they age and due to burnout, accelerated by the demands of COVID. The general population, meanwhile, continues to live long, often needing nursing care for many years.
Trudeau, an assistant professor at Manor College, is the director of a new Licensed Practical Nurse program that starts in September. Graduates, she said, will seamlessly go from the classroom to the hospital room.
“You’re very likely to land a job in this field,” she said.
LPNs make an average starting yearly salary of about $50,000.
Trudeau said there will be no need for Manor to offer job assistance. She expects there to be five jobs open for each graduate.
“There’s such a shortage,” she said.
Trudeau worked as an LPN for six years, starting in 1974. She earned a nursing diploma in 1980, and has been an RN since. She received a psychology degree from Otterbein University (Ohio) in 1985, a Master of Public Administration from Harvard in 1992 and a Doctor of Social Work from the University of Southern California in 2020 (when she created the LPN program). She’s been a project manager at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an administrative director at the VA Medical Center. She continues to do work at Bayada Home Health Care, and last year taught a healthcare course at St. Hubert, which has a partnership with Manor.
Orientation is Aug. 21 for the LPN program, with classes starting after Labor Day. Students must have a high school degree to enroll.
The cost is $38,000, with tuition assistance available.
The class meets weekdays and is year round, with students enrolled for four semesters over 15 months, graduating in December 2024.
One of the students will be Vinnie Binn, 58, who works as lead monitor tech at Holy Redeemer Hospital. She recalls being a 14-year-old volunteer at the old Giuffre Medical Center at 8th and Girard. Her mom, Gloria Buxton, was a supervisor at Giuffre and Temple Hospital.
“Anybody who provided care to people always intrigued me,” she said. “I wanted to work in healthcare.”
Binn worked in healthcare before transitioning to the Verizon call center for eight years, making good money, but not finding the work rewarding. She was laid off, which she called a “blessing in disguise.” She worked for a short time in retail before returning to healthcare.
Binn, who earned an associate’s from Burlington County College two decades ago, will work while going to Manor. After completing the LPN program, she’ll work at Holy Redeemer for a year – the hospital is helping her with tuition – while applying for an RN program.
“My goal is to be an RN,” she said. “Nursing to me is probably the most integral piece of healthcare. They spend the most time with patients and their family. They take care of everyone. They listen. They make sure everyone is OK. That’s who I am, at almost 60 years old.’’
Binn said she enjoyed her meeting with Trudeau and her dealings with the Manor admissions office, and hopes to finish at the top of her class. She is looking forward to taking excellent care of patients and assuring them they are not alone, even after family visiting hours. She is determined, saying she gets her drive from showing her five grandsons that she can become a nurse at 60.
“If God takes me to it,” she said. “he’ll take me through it.”
In all, the Manor LPN program is a little more than 1,500 hours, a figure required by the state, about evenly split between classroom and clinical (lab and field). Grads will finish with 70 credits and an associate’s degree.
“This is like a full-time job,” Trudeau said.
At Manor, 700 Fox Chase Road in Jenkintown, there will be a classroom and a skills lab that includes two beds and life-size, high-tech mannequins.
“It’ll be like a hospital room,” Trudeau said.
Students can practice IVs, tubes, injections and other work on the mannequins.
“They can do any care they would do on a person,” Trudeau said. “All it is is a body, but it does a lot of things.”
Trudeau and the students will all wear Manor College blue uniforms and jackets.
Each student will receive a bag that includes a stethoscope, thermometer, blood pressure monitor and wound dressing. There’s a large Basic Nursing textbook that will be good for three semesters, along with a workbook.
“We go over it all in class,” Trudeau said of the workbook.
The other textbooks are online, through Canvas.
The first semester will consist of academic courses, including one that Trudeau believes is of the utmost importance – Managing Social Determinants of Health. That course will focus on non-medical factors – such as where people are born and live – that affect their health.
Clinical studies will start in the spring 2024 semester.
Once hired, LPNs are supervised by a higher-level licensed provider, usually an RN. They provide basic nursing care – starting and monitoring an IV, inserting urinary catheters, changing wound dressings – and are able to be certified in other tasks.
“The title ‘practical nurse’ is fitting. It’s very hands on,” Trudeau said.
As for job opportunities, LPNs can work in hospitals and nursing homes and in home care.
“That’s the beauty of nursing,” Trudeau said of job options. ••
For more information on the Licensed Practical Nurse program, visit manor.edu and click “Apply Now.”