JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will be helping to fund a new two-year community college to prepare low-income Chicago residents for jobs in nursing and other high-demand fields. Instituto College is set to open this fall and is being developed by Instituto del Progreso Latino, a nonprofit organization that provides workforce development and other services to the city’s Latino community.
A $500,000 contribution from JPMorgan Chase will help provide free tuition for the first class of students as part of the $40 million investment the bank announced in 2017 to boost economic opportunity in Chicago’s underserved communities.
Whitney Smith, head of Midwest philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase, tells ChicagoTribune.com, “These are the kinds of programs that exemplify what those commitments are about. There is all this untapped potential that can drive our economy with the right kind of education and supports.”
Instituto College is focused on training graduates for a growing number of middle-income jobs that employers struggle to fill. JPMorgan Chase’s decision to fund the college is backed by Chase research that was released in 2015 showing that Chicago-area jobs pay well and require a high school degree and some further education but not a bachelor’s degree.
The college will launch with a class of 30 students pursuing an associate degree in nursing. The school’s target population includes immigrants with limited English and no high school education who usually can’t succeed in a traditional community college. The program will help build English skills and technical skills together, including offering services like financial coaching and job placement.
To learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s announcement to help fund a new community college targeting Chicago’s Latino community, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Jessica Leja, an oncology nurse at DuPage Medical Group in Illinois, who wants to give her never-worn wedding dress to a cancer patient or survivor. Leja believes in finding silver linings in the worst of circumstances, so now that her own wedding has been called off, she wants to turn something sad into something beautiful.
As an oncology nurse, Leja understands how cancer can interrupt your life in messy, painful, and expensive ways. Sometimes it can even ruin plans and delay big events like a wedding day, which is why Leja wants to gift her wedding gown to a woman who is battling cancer or who has survived it.
Leja tells ChicagoTribune.com, “My heroes are cancer patients: the fighters, the survivors, and the taken. The admiration I have for them is beyond words…This dress wasn’t made for me. It was made for someone else. And I have to find her.”
After beginning her career in geriatrics, several of Leja’s own relatives were diagnosed with cancer, including her dad. Leja feels fortunate to have been able to care for her dad who was diagnosed and lost his battle to metastatic kidney cancer at 55 years old.
Shortly after his passing, she received a phone call about an oncology nursing position. Leja immediately felt at home during her interview and was offered the job on the spot, which she accepted without hesitation.
Now she hopes to give back to the community she serves in a different way: by gifting her wedding gown free of charge to an engaged or soon-to-be engaged woman who is battling cancer or who has survived it.
To learn more about Jessica Leja’s background as an oncology nurse and her mission to gift her never-worn wedding gown to a cancer patient or survivor, visit here.
Loyola University Chicago and Orbis Education recently commemorated the successful launch of a new, hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program during the grand opening of the university’s state-of-the-art nursing facility located in Downers Grove, IL.
Loyola has graduated students from its 16-month ABSN program for over 25 years. Now in partnership with Orbis Education, Loyola offers a hybrid ABSN program to meet the diverse scheduling needs and learning preferences of today’s students. Classes began in January 2018 for the inaugural class of 34 students.
Loyola’s hybrid program features the same accredited nursing curriculum as Loyola’s on-campus version but relies on an interactive e-Learning platform developed by Orbis to educate students on nursing fundamentals and theories. Students in the hybrid program take the foundational knowledge they learn online and turn it into quality patient care under guidance of faculty at the Downers Grove facility and top healthcare facilities across the Chicago metropolitan area.
Dr. Vicki Keough, dean of the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago, tells PRNewswire.com, “As we considered expanding our nursing program with Orbis Education, we realized they were a lot like us. They embraced our mission and commitment to Cura Personalis – care of the entire person. And they were intensely focused on academic quality and student outcomes.”
The Downers Grove facility is equipped and funded by Orbis Education. It includes state-of-the-art nursing labs that replicate the clinical setting and feature full-body patient simulators and contemporary hospital equipment. The labs provide a contextual learning environment where students can hone their clinical skills in a manner that will complement their clinical learning experiences in healthcare and community organizations in the local area.
To learn more about Loyola University Chicago and Orbis Education’s new partnership, visit here.
Our Nurses of the Week are the undergraduate nursing students in the Illinois State University (ISU) Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) who are working their clinical hours in schools to help improve the lives of young people by inspiring healthy habits at an early age.
These clinical hours are being completed through MCN’s award winning pediatric and public health clinical experience called America’s Promise Schools Project. America’s Promise provides clinical experiences for 90 nursing seniors each fall, sending seven to eight students to each of the 23 sites in six schools districts across three counties in Central Illinois.
The community health initiative combines engagement and real-world training, allowing schools to receive help in teaching students how to live healthy lifestyles while nursing students gain clinical experience in a public health setting. The many projects that have been initiated across Central Illinois are focused around the core areas of oral health, obesity, and mental health. Past programs have included teaching mindfulness exercises to teach elementary students how to be kinder to each other and assisting rural high schools with their suicide prevention efforts.
MCN understands the importance of clinical hours for nursing students. Assistant Professor Carla Pohl, director of America’s Promise, tells News.IllinoisState.edu, “Not only are they getting the experience in the school, but they are seeing what community nursing looks like. The project helps the students learn what the reality is. It helps them learn what the community resources are.”
America’s Promise was introduced to local schools in 2011. Last year, the program received the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), recognizing the outstanding work of AACN schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change.
To learn more about MCN’s America’s Promise Schools Project to inspire healthy habits for children, visit here.
Illinois Wesleyan University has received funding from the Illinois Board of Higher Education 2018 Nurse Educator Fellowship to encourage student-faculty collaboration and inspire student-led experiences.
The fellowship is earned by 19 applicants statewide, and awards $10,000 to each recipient in an effort to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher learning. Student-led research is crucial to preparing students for success in the workplace and giving them a leg up when entering graduate programs where they have to conduct research.
Wesleyan’s School of Nursing encourages students to work with faculty on rigorous research experiences. This is not a common practice for undergraduate nursing programs, as research opportunities are typically geared toward graduate students and focused on faculty interests.
The nursing faculty at Wesleyan believe in encouraging undergraduate students to pursue research projects they’re passionate about, and to collaborate with faculty. Faculty members Ann Eckhardt and Amanda Hopkins have a passion for research, and want to further pursue that passion with their students. Hopkins tells IWU.edu, “These funds have allowed me to not only conduct research on my passion, but also to collaborate with students to fulfill their passion.”
To learn more about Illinois Wesleyan University’s nursing fellowship award intended to inspire student-faculty collaboration, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Michael Gnidovec, born and raised near Peru, Illinois, who began his nursing journey at Illinois Valley Community College. After finishing his two-year associate’s degree in nursing, Gnidovec joined the nursing workforce before going on to pursue his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, continuing to reach higher after achieving each new goal.
While working two jobs as a nurse at a nearby hospital and part-time school nurse, Gnidovec decided he wanted to do more with his nursing career and began exploring RN to BSN programs. Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing stood out to him because you can complete the online RN to BSN program in as little as one year.
Gnidovec tells News.IllinoisState.edu, “I was working two jobs, actually. I worked full-time at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley as a medical-surgical and pediatric nurse, and I also worked part-time as a school nurse for Peru Public Schools. I was lucky — in that area of Illinois, because it is small, most employers don’t require bachelor’s degrees.”
Thanks to help and support from his professors, Gnidovec was able to work two jobs while going to school full time. Gnidovec found that the things he was learning applied directly to the work he was doing, allowing him to put his clinical work as a nurse into context. The public health course work was particularly impactful for Gnidovec as a lot of associate’s degree programs lack exposure in that area.
After completing his BSN, Gnidovec went on to earn his master’s degree in nursing with a clinical nurse leader focus from Rush University. He also recently started St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing’s post-master’s certificate in adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist. However, he’s not stopping there. Gnidovec is now exploring Doctor of Nursing Practice programs and thinking about returning to Mennonite College of Nursing for their online DNP program.
Thankful for everything his nursing education has given him, Gnidovec tells News.IllinoisState.edu, “Having a bachelor’s degree made me marketable. The skills I learned in the RN to BSN program at Illinois State allow me to be an effective leader. I can navigate policy changes and understand the reasons behind them. I can see things from the perspective of both upper management and my peers. I appreciate evidence-based practice.”
With his master’s degree under his belt, Gnidovec currently works at Mayo Clinic as a charge nurse. To learn more about Gnidovec’s path to nursing, visit here.