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Summa Health System - The University of Akron, Stark State College and Summa Health System Collaborate to Create a Workforce of Better-Prepared Nurses through LPN to BSN Program

Date: 07.30.2013
Contact: Phone:

Sarah Lane
Public Relations Representative
The University of Akron
(330) 972-7429 

Irene Lewis Motts
Director of Marketing
Stark State College
(330) 494-6170, Ext. 4275

Erica Rosenthal
Public Relations Coordinator
Summa Health System
(234) 312-5033 

AKRON, Ohio, July 30, 2013 — The University of Akron, Stark State College and Summa Health System are coming together to educate and train licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to become registered nurses (RNs) through a dual-degree, cost-effective and accelerated LPN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. The collaboration was created as a result of the growing complexity of patients in critical care units and the need to have more RNs at the bedside.

The accelerated program, the first of its kind in the area, commences fall semester with a cohort of 33 LPNs who are employed full-time at Summa. Within a two-and-a-half-year period, unlike the traditional four-year period at other LPN to BSN programs, nurses will earn an associate degree (ADN) at Stark State College and their BSN from The University of Akron. The ADN degree will take 18 months to complete, and the BSN one year to complete over fall, spring and summer semesters.

The scope of practice, capabilities and level of training among LPNs and RNs are different, as defined by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. For example, LPNs cannot perform patient assessments or develop a patient’s plan of care. Although LPNs are employed in many areas at Summa, they will no longer work in the intensive care or telemetry units at Summa Akron City Hospital.

“In addition to moving to an all RN staff in our critical care units, we are also focused on having our bedside RNs be BSN prepared at a minimum,” said Lanie Ward, Senior Vice President Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer at Summa Health System. “We support the Institute of Medicine/Future of Nursing report that recommends 80% of bedside RNs be BSN prepared by 2020. That’s why we worked to reach an easy and effective solution to keep our LPNs local and support their individual growth to become BSN nurses. This collaborative training program will allow LPNs to advance their education so that they can continue serving and caring for our patients well into the future.”

A robust and thorough 128-credit hour curriculum includes flexible class schedules to allow LPNs to continue working full-time while enrolled in the program. Additionally, students will undergo accelerated testing, several rotations in topics such as leadership, research and diversity; and advanced training on how to better care for complex patients, including those who require palliative and older adult care.

“The shared curriculum model between the two colleges to be used in our LPN to BSN program is relevant, yet realistic, and will produce competent, qualified practitioners who will be able to meet the community’s needs,” said Dr. Elaine Fisher, University of Akron School of Nursing interim director and professor of nursing.

Once LPNs finish their degree, they will return to their units within Summa as RNs or may apply to transfer to another unit within the hospital system if desired.

Judy Stauder, Summa Program coordinator for Stark State, sees this program as a very positive step toward helping nurses achieve higher levels of education. “This fast-paced, intense program provides the same quality curriculum as the traditional program and is designed for seamless transition from LPN to ADN to RN to BSN, allowing students to accomplish their goals more quickly,” said Stauder.

Additionally, all LPNs in the cohort will receive partial tuition reimbursement, and several others have been granted full scholarships. LPNs will be students in the program from August 2013 until December 2015.

About The University of Akron
The University of Akron offers more than 300 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and law degree programs – with accreditations by 35 professional agencies. With nearly 30,000 students and $65 million in research expenditures, UA is among the nation's strongest public universities focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in community and economic growth. Programs are targeted to diverse groups of learners, including full-time, part-time and on-line students, veterans, and adults returning to the classroom. The distinctive Akron Experience enhances post-graduate success through internships and co-ops, academic research (both undergraduate and graduate), study abroad, on-campus student employment, and service projects.

About Stark State College
Stark State College is a comprehensive, two-year institution of higher education with a mission to provide quality, high-value associate degrees, certificates and professional development in a diverse, student-centered learning environment. Located in North Canton, the college offers programs in business and entrepreneurial studies, education, engineering technologies, health sciences, human services, information technologies, liberal arts, math and sciences. University transfer partnerships with more than 35 universities in Ohio and nationwide, encourage students in the pursuit of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Stark State has a strong reputation among business and industry as a leader in workforce development activities that support emerging business needs. For more information:

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at