100 Years, 100 Stories
If you catch Leslie Clark having a free moment, consider it a rare event.
The practical nursing student at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley is usually in class or clinicals from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Then she goes to work at Truman Medical Centers. Sometimes that’s overnight, 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Other days it’s 3 to 11 p.m. “And I work every weekend I can,” she says.
Clark, 44, of Lee’s Summit has worked at Truman for 15 years, these days as a patient care technician. But she’d like to advance in her career by ultimately earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“I had been working toward my BSN and it was taking me some time, so I thought the LPN (Licenced Practical Nursing certificate) would be the best route,” she says.
MCC’s practical nursing certificate program “has been a wonderful experience for me,” says Clark, who takes hands-on classes at the Health Science Institute at MCC-Penn Valley. “I’ve learned a lot, and it’s made me have a different outlook on life and jobs.”
She started last January and is on track to graduate this December.
What does she like the most about the program? “The instructors,” Clark says. “They’re very caring. I’ve learned so much to get me to the next level.
“They listen to you if you have problems. They’ll help you if you don’t understand something. It’s a very helpful program.”
The MCC practical nursing program leads to a certificate of proficiency and prepares students to take the National Council of State Boards of Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. Graduates who pass the exam can accept entry-level jobs as licensed LPNs.
Clark says she’s seen “so much changing” at Truman, with some jobs becoming obsolete. That’s why she concluded she needed more education.
“That’s my goal — to move forward,” she says.