North Central offering nursing training in Savannah

Nov. 26—Nursing students will be able to start their career path at a new facility in Northwest Missouri.

The newly opened Savannah, Missouri, campus of North Central Missouri College provides a centralized location and advanced technology.

"We have a state-of-the-art lab ... and we have technology-rich classrooms," said Susan Nichols, campus director and a registered nurse.

The Savannah campus also provides students convenient access to medical and assisted-living facilities throughout the area.

"Our clinical sites could be hospitals like Mosaic Maryville, Mosaic St. Joseph, Laverna in Savannah, and we use several of the nursing homes ... in St. Joe as well as Maryville," Nichols said.

The convenience of the 11-month licensed practical nursing (LPN) program gives students an expanded range of employment options and income opportunities. Ashtyn Wilson, Savannah campus practical nursing coordinator, noted that LPNs can perform a wider range of tasks than certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and techs.

"They (LPNs) can care for patients, give medications, do IVs if they're IV certified — and our students are IV certified," Wilson said. "They're able to work in area clinics as well as at the hospital. They really do have a diverse range of care."

For most students, moving from a CNA (which can be attained in high school programs) to an LPN means a significant increase in income. In Missouri, according to, the average CNA salary usually tops out at $16 to $20 per hour. The average LPN salary ranges from $22 to $40 per hour.

It is not uncommon for a student to graduate from the LPN program, take a job at a local hospital or care facility and then enroll in the registered nurse (RN) certification program at NCMC, Wilson said. The bump in salary allows some students to gain meaningful employment at a nearby facility or hospital while gaining the additional certification that would provide a greater income boost and open even more employment doors. The average RN salary in Missouri ranges from $51,000 to $92,000.

Kacey Booth, a graduate of the LPN program, has such a story.

"For me, starting as an LPN was about keeping financial stability while I was in school. I needed to be able to work ... and having that step in between being a tech and being an RN was a fantastic option," she said. "Also, having the school in Savannah has been great because it's more centrally located to where I live in St. Joe."

The hope is to expand the program beyond its current enrollment of 36 students, and online certification courses are also available.

Charles Christian anchors the evening news for News-Press NOW and also serves as an ordained minister at United Methodist Churches in Union Star and Helena, Missouri. Charles can be reached at Follow him on twitter: @NPNowChristian.