JOHNSTOWN — Fulton-Montgomery Community College is exploring the possibility of adding a licensed practical nursing program to its offerings.
During Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, College President Dustin Swanger said the college has had meetings with health care agencies about the program.
The college has had a Registered Nursing program for a number of years, but not an LPN program.
“We’re beginning to explore an LPN program. There seems to be need in the community,” Swanger said. “But, these programs are expensive to start and to run. We’re going to have to take a good hard look at what it’s going to cost us to run and whether we can do it or not.”
Swanger said he would like to see a one-year program if the college moves forward.
“This is a very early discussion, but something we are looking at,” Swanger said.
Swanger said the college is interested in adding the program because it would fill a need in the community. HFM BOCES is closing down its program at the end of this school year.
“I hope they do pick it up next door,” said Susan Roth, adviser to BOCES’ LPN program. “LPNs are the backbone of longterm care in the area. They work in doctors offices, clinics … all over the place. There’s a real need in the area for LPNs.”
Swanger said students would have a chance to move into FM’s RN program from the LPN program. He said the college currently has an LPN to RN bridge program.
“They get credit for the first semester of the RN program if they hold an LPN,” Swanger said.
Swanger said FM has reviewed other college LPN programs and seen some problems.
“I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes our RN program,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of exploring to do.”
Swanger said he also had meetings with students in the residents halls recently, something he is hoping to do once a semester.
“It’s a completely open session to talk about whatever they want to talk about,” Swanger said. “It really was very positive … We talked about some changes they’d like to see in laundry services or food issues.”
Swanger said during the conversation, the topic of racism at various campuses came up, including reported incidents at SUNY Genesso.
He said when he asked if students had any issues on campus, he was told no.
“They said they feel welcomed [and] feel like they are appreciated as part of the community,” Swanger said.
Swanger said that students also said they felt the faculty and staff at FMCC really care about the students.
“Half a dozen of them said they had been to different colleges and didn’t do well. They came here and it changed their whole experience,” Swanger said. “They feel people care, they reach out to them; they’re doing what they need to do. It was a very good experience. I look forward to continuing those discussions.”
Kerry Minor covers Gloversville. She can be reached at [email protected].