MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville Hospital and Drake Community & Technical College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning to celebrate the beginning of their first licensed practical nurses (LPN) launch program.

19 students will be suiting up for lectures and lab training to become LPNs this fall.

The LPN program provides financial assistance from Huntsville Hospital for tuition, books, and fees. In return, the students will gain three years of experience as licensed practical nurses by working at the local hospital.

The nursing shortage in the state of Alabama has added an extra strain on hospital staff as they continue to treat a high number of patients. 

The demand to make it easier for those interested in nursing programs has also grown. Drake State President Patricia Sims said this partnership is the ideal example of how education institutions and business community partners can all work together to address the challenges faced in the area.

“It’s a win-win,” Sims explained. “We provide jobs and career care opportunities and we provide the health care that’s needed for our community so that we can continue to enjoy a good quality of life in North Alabama.”

Kerreca Myhand has been a medical assistant for the past six years. After facing challenges getting accepted into nursing school, she’s finally achieved her goal and is ready to take on the course.

“I want to retain all the knowledge I can and I want to be a good nurse,” said Myhand. “I know the last couple of years have been rough for nurses so I really want to just get back in the field and blossom.”

The program will be held at the Huntsville Hospital Training Center in Madison. Several classrooms and labs have been set up for students to receive lectures and conduct exam training.

Huntsville Hospital President and COO Tracy Doughty said they hope to have 25 more students join the program in the spring.