Camp Community College still accepting applications for fall Practical Nursing certificate program

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

By Wendy Harrison


Franklin Rotarian Gaynelle Riddick was amazed when she was handed a “newborn baby” while visiting the Paul D. Camp Community College Department of Nursing and Allied Health’s Simulation lab.

The nursing faculty hosted the Rotarians’ weekly meeting recently, introducing them to the state-of-the-art equipment in the lab, namely Sim Mom, a tool that provides students valuable hands-on skills before they head out into the real world as nurses.

Riddick said that the simulation was almost real.

“I am so pleased to know that our little college here in my hometown has something this incredible to use in teaching students to be nurses,” Riddick said. “I would not have imagined this teaching tool to even be in existence.”

According to Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Debbie Hartman, many community members in the service region do not realize that the small college has this high quality equipment incorporated into its curriculum.

“We have three labs, including one dedicated to the practical nursing program students on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus with a room that fully simulates bedside patient care,” Hartman said. “We are very fortunate to have generous donors in our community who believe in our mission and our students here at the college, which has made our high quality instruction possible.”

Rotarian Lauren Harper, who was also at the demonstration, echoed Riddick’s sentiment of the realistic approach to instruction. “We are very fortunate to have this facility in Franklin,” Harper said. “Obviously, the experience is enhanced by very engaged instructors.”

Class of 2019 graduate Megan Smith, 23, of Suffolk, said that her time in the program has been a positive experience and has helped her confirm her calling in the healthcare field, where she works as a licensed practical nurse at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Nansemond Pediatrics office in Suffolk.

“You gain confidence and nursing skills to help you succeed in your field,” she said. Smith also noted that Laurel Wright, who serves as lead faculty for the PN program, is a kind, caring and positive role model for the program who will go beyond what she has to do to help a student accomplish their goals.

“Anyone would be lucky to have her as their teacher,” she said. “I truly can say that Paul D. Camp Community College’s Nursing Department is a second family to me.”

Practical nursing is just one of the health-related careers that is currently in high demand. According to O*Net Online, the occupations of licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses based on 2016 figures are expected to grow by more than 18 percent in Virginia by 2026.

“The PN program at Camp is one year of instruction that focuses on classroom success, with hands-on activities and skills lab training,” explained Hartman. “The students are provided with more than 500 hours of clinical instruction, working directly in patient care in facilities that are in our service area.”

In addition, the program can be used as a pathway to the registered nursing program. “Camp offers the Licensed Practical Nursing to Registered Nursing (LPN to RN) Advanced Placement Program, which is three semesters and is offered on the Franklin Campus,” said Hartman.

The 2019 practical nursing graduates experienced a 100 percent pass rate, which refers to the successful completion of the state licensure exam for which the college program prepares them.

Currently, the program is still accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester. Classes begin Aug. 20.

For more information about the PDCCC Nursing and Allied Health programs, email Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Debbie Hartman,

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Camp Community College. She can be reached at