SOWELA Doubles RN Cohorts with State, Accreditor Approval

Expanding Capacity in Lake Charles and Leesville, LA Critical to Meeting Industry Demand and Aid in National Nursing Shortage Crisis

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – September 21, 2023)

SOWELA Technical Community College recently received approval from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) to add a Spring Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN-RN) cohort and an LPN to RN program at the SOWELA Leesville location starting Summer 2024. The expansion doubles SOWELA’s RN-track cohorts, giving prospective students four start date options.

“SOWELA’s School of Nursing and Allied Health is meeting the workforce need for registered nurses by increasing admissions into the ASN-RN and LPN to RN programs,” said School of Nursing and Allied Health Dean Kristine Stout. “This will allow students a twice-a-year admission option. With this change, we will continue to make an impact on the local community’s needs for RNs.”

Expanding the capacity of SOWELA’s Registered Nurse (RN) programs helps address the critical nursing shortage nationally and statewide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the RN workforce is expected to grow by 6% over the next decade, and the Bureau also projects 203,200 openings for RNs through 2031 when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed. Closer to home, the Louisiana Board of Regents estimates a shortfall of approximately 6,000 registered nurses, or 40% of the current workforce by 2030.

“Increasing capacity speaks to SOWELA’s commitment of supporting the ongoing development of a sustainable healthcare workforce in the region,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Paula Hellums. “Our goal is to allow more students to enter these programs, graduate, sit for their licensure exam, and ultimately join the workforce as quickly as possible.”

The expansion of an LPN to RN program in Leesville, LA, is crucial not only to address limited educational opportunities close to home for rural residents but also to create a direct pipeline into the Vernon Parish community of well-trained, highly skilled nurses. According to the US Government Accountability Office, rural residents, on average, are older and generally have worse health conditions than urban residents. While they may require more medical attention, they also tend to have more limited access to health care.

Both programs prepare nursing students to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Spring 2023 Nursing graduates achieved a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX exam, and for the third year in a row, SOWELA’s LPN to RN class earned a 100% NCLEX pass rate. These pass rates surpass the national pass rate average of 79.9%, indicative of the quality of educational training at SOWELA.

The Associate of Science in Nursing program prepares students for immediate employment in the healthcare arena and is available at SOWELA’s Main Campus in Lake Charles. The three-semester LPN to RN program is specifically for LPNs who wish to earn an Associate of Science in Nursing and become registered nurses. It is available at SOWELA’s Main Campus in Lake Charles and starting Summer 2024 at the SOWELA Lamar Salter site in Leesville, LA.

The Nursing programs also connect successful completers to transfer opportunities for a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN). SOWELA currently has four transfer agreements with Louisiana universities.

SOWELA’s School of Nursing and Allied Health includes associate degree programs in Nursing, LPN to RN, Practical Nursing and Surgical Technology, and a two-semester certificate program in Sterile Processing.

For more information about SOWELA’s healthcare programs, visit our School of Nursing and Allied Health page or call (337) 421-6550 or email Scholarships and financial aid are available for those who qualify.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 85 years.

3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
(800) 256-0483

Mon-Thu: 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM
Friday: 7:45 AM to 12:00 PM
(337) 421-6550

SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person(s) have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:

Title IX Officer

Candy Parker

(337) 421-6510 or (800) 256-0483

3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

ADA Officer

Maegan Lewis

(337) 421-6952 or (800) 256-0483

3850 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

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