Penn State Learning Center holds celebration for community partner

Lewistown Hospital’s School of Nursing recently received accreditation for its nursing program from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, which identified the school’s partnership with Penn State’s Learning Center in Lewistown as an important component of the program. In honor of this milestone, the Learning Center is holding a celebration from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 26, in its Lewistown Center Campus facility at 152 E. Market St.

“This is a community collaborative partnership,” said Thomas Walker, director of the Penn State Learning Center. “Because of our close partnership with the school and the science and general education courses we offer as part of the nursing program, we were included in the review process. We are thrilled that the Accrediting Commission has recognized the hard work of the School of Nursing and its role in helping to develop a nursing workforce locally.”

Lewistown Hospital, a 123-bed acute care community hospital serving rural Juniata Valley, reopened its School of Nursing a few years ago and partnered with Penn State to educate and train RNs who live in the region.

Mary Alyce Nelson, director of the School of Nursing, explained that accreditation is vital to attracting people to the nursing profession. With accreditation, nursing students are eligible for state and federal funding for financial aid, which can make completing the RN diploma more affordable.

“Accreditation is an acknowledgement that our nursing program goes above and beyond to meet the needs of students,” Nelson said. “We are ensuring we have a quality program by following quality education practices and continuously improving what we’re doing for our students.”

The accreditation process involved on-site visits to the School of Nursing and the Learning Center’s new Science and Health Lab, developed in partnership with the school and Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center Practical Nursing programs. The lab features a state-of-the-art family of adult and child human patient simulators (or sims) and other computerized tools. Teaching sessions can be videotaped for further evaluation and study. A second room in the lab is equipped for teaching basic science courses and for conducting scientific experiments.

“Our collaboration with the community, including the Penn State Learning Center, was critically important to receiving accreditation,” Nelson said. “A lot of credit also is due to the Learning Center’s sim lab. It’s wonderful that we have access to the lab for our students.”

In addition to national accreditation, the school’s nursing program has full approval from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

“This was a tremendous hurdle,” Walker said. “Accreditation will benefit both the school and the Learning Center by enabling more people to become nurses.”

Penn State Continuing Education offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 30,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. The unit also serves more than 220,000 Pennsylvania youth each year through summer academic and sport camps and other programs at Penn State campuses. Continuing Education is comprised of Conferences, Continuing Education at all Penn State campuses, Management Development Programs and Services, and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. For more information, visit online. Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

Last Updated April 20, 2010