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WATCH: Columbus School for Practice Nursing Scholarship Available

March 31, 2021 -- It’s one of the best-kept secrets in Columbus. That’s what Ed O’Reilly, the Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development for Columbus City Schools, says about the scholarship at the Columbus School for Practical Nursing.

“For the last three years, we have only received one application for this full-ride scholarship for a Columbus City Schools student interested in a nursing career,” said O’Reilly. “With our program and this financial assistance, the student can complete the nursing program in one year. Once they pass the National Board exam, they can be in the workforce a lot sooner and earn up to $40,000 a year.”

The District’s School for Practical Nursing has been in existence for 67 years.

“People think Adult Education and Workforce Development is the place you go to get your high school diploma if you didn’t complete high school,” said O’Reilly. “That’s true, but this is also the school where you can pursue a nursing career. We offer a hands-on practical nursing curriculum and the State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) Program that includes more personal and individualized instruction.”

Joy Rockhold is an instructor and faculty member with the Practical Nursing Program who works with incoming nursing students.

“There is a lot of satisfaction in nursing, and no other higher purpose than service to others,” said Rockhold. “I started on the same pathway, getting my LPN at a school in Mississippi years ago. I recently completed my Master’s Degree in Nursing, so not only can I relate to our incoming students, but I’m proof that nursing is about life-long learning and future opportunities.”

There are approximately 80 students enrolled in the STNA and LPN programs. They range in age from 18 to 70.

Adriana Morrison is one of those students. She is currently working towards her LPN degree after completing the entrance exam.  

“When I got the letter congratulating me because I had been accepted into the program, I read it three times,” said Morrison, who was born and raised in the West African country of Ghana. “I was so happy. I wanted to become a nurse after caring for my ailing grandmother every day while I lived in Ghana. The day she passed was the one day I was not there, and that’s when I decided I would become a nurse and be there for people who needed help.”

Dr. Patricia Harris, a Registered Nurse and Program Administrator for the Columbus School of Practical Nursing, says that there is a huge demand for nurses in our community. Currently, there are available jobs in hospitals, assisted care facilities, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices.

“Our program is small but rigorous,” said Dr. Harris. “Our faculty support the whole student and tutor them if necessary to help them succeed.”

Proof of that came in an email that Dr. Harris shared. The email was from a recent graduate, Dioklaaneh Paye.

“Hello Dr. Harris, this is Dio. I'm so grateful to you, the school, and all the instructors. I took my NCLEX (National Council of State Boards of Nursing develops the NCLEX exam) on Saturday, March 27, and received a congratulations letter yesterday from the nursing board. I passed on my first try. Indeed this is the best school. Thanks again, and thanks to all the instructors.”

Ed O’Reilly, Dr. Harris, and Joy Ruckhold now hope the secret about the nursing program and the full-ride scholarship have been exposed.

“This scholarship is a way to avoid insurmountable debt that could occur from a four-year nursing program,” said Dr. Harris.

“Instead, a Columbus City Schools student could be debt-free and in the workforce a lot sooner,” said Ed O’Reilly.

“This scholarship could be the way for a student to become the first in their family to seek higher education and lift their life out of poverty through education and service to their community,” said Joy Rockhold.

Here is the link to apply for the scholarship at the Columbus School of Practical Nursing.