NMCC Accelerated Nursing Program Graduates First Cohort

December 18, 2023

Graduates Lisa Marie Dow, Valerie Foster, Angela Graham, Shannon (Cricket) Hoose, Elise Lowe, and Jessica Thibeault recite the Florence Nightingale Pledge before family and friends. (Image credit: C. Grillo)

Northern Maine Community College held a pinning ceremony on Friday, December 15, to honor the accomplishments of seven graduates from the pilot program for the accelerated associate degree in nursing (ADN) RN program. Family and friends packed the Edmunds Conference Center on campus to celebrate the accomplishment and witness the graduates’ Florence Nightingale Pledge for Nurses. 

Graduates included Lisa Marie Dow, Valerie Foster, Angela Graham, Melissa Gustin, Shannon (Cricket) Hoose, Elise Lowe, and Jessica Thibeault.   

The accelerated program mirrors the curriculum of the standard ADN program, using the same curriculum as the traditional ADN program, but follows an accelerated 18-month timeline rather than the traditional 2 years. The primary distinction lies in the incorporation of a summer semester, a departure from the traditional break period.  

“In order to address the significant shortage in healthcare, NMCC initiated the accelerated option to prepare graduate nurses faster than the traditional ADN program,” shared Eileen McDougal, department chair of nursing and allied health.  McDougal was pleased that seven of the original eight students in the accelerated cohort completed the four-semester program in 18 months.  The remainder of their classmates will finish their final semester in May of 2024.  

“This modification enables students to fast-track their education while maintaining the program’s high academic standards; it is the only one of its kind in the state of Maine and is an example of how we can respond to the shortage of nurses in a new way,” said NMCC President Tim Crowley at Friday’s pinning.   

The program incorporates extended clinical hours, with 10 hours per day versus the standard eight, and longer classroom sessions. Despite the intensive nature of the accelerated program, students transition back to the standard 15-week schedule during the fall semester. 

Students accepted for the accelerated cohort, following their second semester, had prior successful college experience and a strong academic history.  Some were LPNs and all received a positive recommendation from their first-year nursing faculty.  Local healthcare partners were supportive of the initiative, allowing these students access to clinical experience during the summer semester, typically a time when mentoring of spring graduates and staff vacations create fewer opportunities for clinical rotations. 

“All graduates from this cohort have not only met but exceeded expectations, showcasing exceptional dedication and resilience,” said Angela Buck, academic dean at NMCC. “We are thrilled to announce that all graduates have been offered and have accepted employment, pending successful completion of their boards in January.” 

To learn more about nursing programs available at NMCC, please visit nmcc.edu or contact the admissions office at (207) 768-2785. 

By Development & Public Affairs | December 18, 2023