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PRCC looks to address healthcare shortage with expanded nursing program opportunities

PRCC looks to address healthcare shortage with expanded nursing program opportunities

ADN student adjusts an IV Infusion Pump while instructor and other students observe at PRCC

Nursing is a high demand field and Pearl River Community College is doing its part to help meet the needs of local communities. The college is expanding offerings for more students to complete an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) on both the Forrest County and Poplarville campuses. The Practical Nursing (LPN) program has also been expanded by 30 students. 

A survey conducted earlier this year by the Mississippi Hospital Association put the shortage of nurses in the state at more than 3,000. Within the districts served by PRCC, there are hundreds of openings for Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs.)  

“Pearl River Community College is committed to meeting the needs of healthcare in our community,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs. “There is a critical need for nurses, and we will do all we can to provide the most qualified healthcare professionals to meet this need.  

“We are working with local healthcare providers to understand their needs, and we are hiring experienced and talented faculty to produce skilled nurses who are compassionate and caring about serving others.” 

In Fall 2021, the Forrest County Campus (FCC) added a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to ADN evening program. This option was started with initial assistance from Forrest Health. The option is designed to give students the flexibility to continue working while attending classes. Courses are offered in the evening and the weekend in a condensed schedule compared to the traditional program. 

Traditional ADN courses have only been offered on the Poplarville Campus. That is changing thanks to funding from an Accelerate Mississippi Pine Belt Healthcare grant. PRCC will be adding both the traditional ADN program option at FCC and an LPN to ADN evening option in Poplarville. The traditional ADN program in Poplarville has also added students. In total, the college expanded the program capacity by 30 students at each campus. 

“PRCC ADN program has been in existence since 1965,” said Dr. Arlene Jones, Director of the Associate Degree of Nursing program. “To date, over 3,500 graduates have successfully completed the program and have made nursing their career.  

Many have taken the opportunity to advance their education, and some have even returned to the program as faculty. To me, that speaks volumes to the reputation the ADN program has in our community. Those responsible for the program are excited and ready for this new challenge.” 

ADN instructor guides a student on using an IV Infusion Pump while other students observe at PRCC

The Practical Nursing program is available for full-time students during the day at the Forrest County and Poplarville Campuses. An evening/weekend option is available at all three campuses (Forrest County, Hancock County and Poplarville.) Full-time students complete the program in 3 semesters (one year) while the part-time students take five semesters to finish. 

“I personally started my nursing career as a PRCC LPN,” said Dr. Melissa Bryant, District Wide Practical Nursing Department Chair/Instructor of Practical Nursing. “I can truly say that PRCC changed my life.  

“The PRCC Practical Nursing Program provides an opportunity for students to enter a career in nursing in as little as one-year. PRCC LPN’s work in a variety of healthcare settings and have the opportunity to advance. Becoming a PRCC LPN was the best decision I ever made.” 

Nursing Instructor describes procedure to PRCC LPN students

Expanding the offerings has created new positions at PRCC. This includes four 9-month full-time faculty positions and two part-time adjunct faculty positions. Both require a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Nursing as well as at least five years of clinical experience in an acute care setting.  

In addition to all PRCC admission requirements, the ADN program has a separate admission process with program specific requirements. Once accepted as a PRCC student, the ADN Interest Survey is accessed through the ADN website. The survey is open July 1 – October 1 for Spring admission and December 1 – March 1 for Fall admission.  

Specific materials required for a complete application to the program are listed on the PRCC website. Admission requirements for the programs of study are specific to each option. Applicants for all options are required to take an entrance exam. Those interested in the LPN to ADN Evening options must have all 30 credit hours of required general education classes completed before an application is filed. 

Questions about the program and application process can be sent to

Like the ADN application, prospective students must first meet all PRCC admission requirements before completing the Practical Nursing application. Applicants must also take the TEAS Test completed through ATI Testing. The deadline to apply to ANY option is March 1. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

May 31, 2022 - 12:58pm
PRCC’s Adult Ed graduates large class

PRCC’s Adult Ed graduates large class

PRCC Adult Educaton Graduates walk across stage

It was another record-setting year for the Adult Education program at Pearl River Community College. 

More than 250 students graduated. During commencement Thursday, May 26, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center, 110 students walked across the stage to receive their high school equivalency diplomas. 

“This is a night for true celebration,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood told the graduates. “You have trusted us with your futures and you have overcome a lot to get here. You guys are heroes. You are special. You are family. This is such a special time.”        

Graduation speaker was Dr. Raymunda Barnes, Assistant Vice President for PRCC’s Hancock Campus in Waveland. He challenged graduates to continue to fulfill your dreams.

“You made it. You finished. Now what?” said Barnes. “The journey is not over. Achievement is an ongoing process. As you leave here tonight, the work continues. Too many eyes are depending on you to show them the way.”

Some graduates, like Meghan Galarza of Bay St. Louis, see this as a life-changing experience. She is a CNA and plans to enter the PRCC nursing program.

Meghan Galarza PRCC Adult Education Graduation 2022

“I am very excited and proud,” said Galarza, 25. “I have three children and two step children, so for them to see me finish this means a lot.”

The same goes for April Ulerich, 52, of Picayune who pursued her GED to advance in her job as a cafeteria manager.

April Ulerich PRCC Adult Education Graduation 2022

“I am very grateful for the adult ed program,” she said. “Thanks to this degree, I am now able to receive a promotion at my work.”

Kris Jordan, 27, of Tupelo, a CNA and EMT, sees endless possibilities in her future.

Kris Jordan PRCC Adult Education Graduation 2022

“Being able to go at my speed and to meet incredible teachers who helped me stay focused and stay on track was important to me,” said Jordan.

Donavon Clark, Jr., 34, of Hancock County wants to become a drone technician.

Donavon Clark PRCC Adult Education graduate 2022

“This diploma means I can do anything,” he said. “This is the beginning of another life for me.”

LaTynia Allen, 49, of Hattiesburg wants t open her own daycare one day.

LaTynia Allen PRCC Adult Education graduate 2022

“This feels awesome,” she said. “It took me six- and one-half years, but I never gave up.”

Sandra Kelley, who came from Fulia, Venezuela, moved to Hattiesburg because of her husband’s work. She would like to teach Spanish in school.

Sandra Kelley PRCC Adult Education graduate 2022

“This was an amazing experience for me, especially with the people at Pearl River,” said Kelley, 32. “The support I received and their help inspired me, and I got to make very good friends. It feels refreshing and good to achieve this.”

Some of the graduates not only got their diplomas, but also received workforce certificates for completing additional courses during their GED journey.

The Director of Adult Education at PRCC is Ruby Smith. Chris Maul is the Adult Education Coordinator; Michelle Wilson-Stokes, the Dean of Students; and Rebecca Brown, Dean of Workforce and Community Education.     


Forrest Lamar Adult Education graduates 2022

Graduates from Forrest and Lamar counties included from right: Seated - Serena Skabialka, Jeremy Brackett, Jacob Johnson, Morgan Herrin, Lindsey Muirhead, Tiani Jackson, Rebekah Stewart, Mechelle Holden, Jasmine Jones,  Destiny Murphy, Cayleigh Hamill, Landon Trahan, Zaire Simpson, and Kerri Simpson. Second row – Andrew Green, Dustin Simmons, Jerri Daughtrey, Zoey Sheets, Sandra Kelley, Kris Jordan, Jessie Blackwell, Shelby Clark, Asia Henderson, LaTynia Allen, Elizabeth Picazo, Jordyn Jenkins, Brianna Hernandez and Sonya Boggs. Back row - Blake Wardle, Lindsey Cuevas, Channing Powell, Christopher Leggett, Joseph Conner Hall, Lavelle Williams, Ervin Lopez, Marissa Lee, Emily Easterling, Abby Grantham, Christopher Turner, William Ian Rushing, Bridget Tidwell, Terry C. Pinter, Nick Walker and Cole Burrell. 


2022 Adult Education graduates from Hancock Marion

Graduates from Marion and Hancock counties included from right: Front row - Michele Guerrera, Victoria Denney, Kaylyanne Hinman, Ashley Boswell, April Ulerich, Seanna Cooper, Cesley White, Jaelyn Dillard and Laura Boone. Back row - Jonathan Thompson, Joseph Curry, Alex Gray, Raymond Davis,  Nicholas Molinary, Kimberly Chisholm, Jonah Parker, Chad Dillard and Tiara Patrick.


Pearl River County graduates from Adult Education

Graduates from Pearl River County included from right: Front row - Zykia McDonald, Ethan Joseph Cuevas, Lanny Picou, Mikaela Meyer, Mercedes McCarty, Scarlett Zazueta, Bonnie Trotter, Talina Charlot, Meghan Galarza, Lila Brewer, Callie Ortiz, Madison Hope Seal, and Skyler Pasquarello. Second row - Donavon Clark, Alexander Roberts, Nasiah Richard, Grant Matheny, Trent Matheny, Gi'Armani Torregano, Hunter Elkins, Simone Chiasson, Tiffanie Hill, Rachel Meadows, Dalton Ledet, Logan McCullough, Gillian Moore and Mariah Mason. Back row - Dakeljin Gray, Sofia Huff, Kaden Ray, Justin Woodham, Noah Williams, Kaitlyn Stephens, Dale Cuevas and Da'Zyaha Gray.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

June 1, 2022 - 4:17pm
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