Beta Nu assists at Girls on the Run 5K

Beta Nu students assisting at Girls on the RunOn Nov. 6, 2021, the Beta Nu Nursing Honors Society students volunteered at the First Aid Station for the Girls on the Run 5K Race. Members shown include: Christian Mizera, Amanda Suomela (secretary), Erica Bunch (president), Hayley Callahan, P Fricke, Heather Kinney, and Holly Arnold (vice president). Faculty Advisor: Joi Kazenski

LLCC opens new Nursing Education Center in partnership with Memorial Health System

Ed Curtis, Dr. Charlotte Warren, Marsha Prater and Ken Elmore Signaling a new era in local nursing education, LLCC in partnership with Memorial Health System opened a state-of-the-art facility on Aug. 20 aimed at addressing the regional nursing shortage.

The new Nursing Education Center on the LLCC campus will allow 90 additional students to enroll in LLCC’s nursing program each year, for a total of 215 new nursing students annually.

“We are thrilled to open the doors of this new center with our Memorial Health System partners, just in time for the start of the fall semester,” said Ken Elmore, chair of the LLCC Board of Trustees. “The LLCC/Memorial Health System partnership addresses the need for more students to graduate from our nursing program and live and work in our communities, and aligns with both of our missions, to improve lives and serve our communities.”

“This facility marks a new era as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LLCC nursing program, which has produced nearly 4,000 nursing graduates,” added Dr. Charlotte Warren, president of LLCC. “Our nursing students will have access to the latest technology and equipment in this new center as they prepare for lifesaving and rewarding careers.”

A $6.1 million gift from Memorial Health System allowed LLCC to renovate the west wing of Montgomery Hall for the new center, purchase high-tech simulation equipment and hire additional faculty and staff. The partnership was announced in February of 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the last 18 months, the public has come to appreciate more than ever the incredible dedication, expertise and heroism of the nursing profession. Unfortunately, our region continues to experience a nursing shortage that has made the last few months incredibly more challenging,” said Ed Curtis, president and CEO of Memorial Health System. “The formal opening of this new LLCC Nursing Education Center is visible proof of the ongoing collaboration between LLCC and Memorial Health System to address the nursing shortage in this region. This state-of-the-art facility creates expanded learning opportunities for LLCC students and enables LLCC to continue to increase its nursing enrollment over the next few years.”

“Having been a nurse for over 40 years, I am thrilled to see the caliber of this learning environment and the tremendous support it will provide for the next generation of nurses in our region,” said Marsha Prater, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “Memorial is proud to employ so many LLCC nursing graduates here in Springfield and at our hospitals and clinics across the region. Like the students who are educated here at LLCC, we are deeply committed to meeting the health care needs of the people in the communities we serve. Supporting the future generation of nursing professionals is one way to do that. When we hire these LLCC graduates, we are confident they’ve developed strong knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of nursing, and that they reflect our organization’s values of safety, integrity, quality and stewardship.”

Tracy Madonia is entering her fourth semester of the LLCC Associate Degree Nursing Program.

Dr. Sonja Spencer, Tracy Madonia and Bridgette Hudson“I chose LLCC to pursue my nursing degree for several reasons. When I began researching schools and meeting with advisors, LLCC stood out because of their affordable tuition and their impressive statistics, including the success of LLCC students on the NCLEX,” said Madonia. “I was excited to learn that Memorial, a four-time recipient of a Magnet designation, was partnering with LLCC to expand on their already stellar program. This allows more nursing hopefuls the opportunity to pursue their RN and fill a much-needed demand in the field of nursing. LLCC has provided us with the tools and supplies necessary to perfect our nursing skills.”

The Nursing Education Center includes:

  • 1,900-square-foot nursing skills lab
  • Simulation labs, including a labor/delivery lab
  • Practice lab
  • Classrooms
  • Office space for nursing program staff

A celebration of the new facility and the LLCC nursing program’s 50th anniversary will be scheduled in the future.

Nursing faculty with Dr. Warren, Ed Curtis and Marsha PratherNursing Center classroomLLCC Nursing Instructor Bridgette Hudson observes nursing student Tracy Madonia as she practices skills in the labor/delivery lab of the new Nursing Education Center at LLCC. Dr. Charlotte Warren, Ken Elmore, Marsha Prather and Ed Curtis

Career Launch at LLCC

Dr. Cynthia Maskey in surgery bay with Career Launch teensTeens in the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois’ Career Launch program learned about various health professions yesterday at LLCC! They learned about a range of health care — from ambulance to trauma bay, sonography, surgery and in-hospital experiences.


LLCC Respiratory Care receives national credentialing success award

LLCC’s respiratory care program is among a select group of programs across the country recently recognized with the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award. The RRT credential is a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations.

In selecting programs for this award, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) used objective criteria based on key accreditation metrics. Among other factors, programs were required to achieve at least 90% credentialing success. LLCC achieved 96%.

“Our focus is on helping our students succeed in the classroom and as future respiratory therapists in the workplace,” says Jan Szoke, LLCC’s program director, respiratory care. “Right now, there are more job openings than graduate therapists to fill them. Most of our graduates have multiple job offers before completing the 21-month program.”

Prospective students interested in getting started in the program can attend an information session today at 6 p.m., July 7 at noon or on-demand online. More information about the sessions is available at

Radiography students win state awards

Three of the LLCC Associate Degree Radiography students received awards at the 86th Annual Illinois State Society of Radiologic Technology Conference that was held in April this year. First year radiography student Megan Jamison of Taylorville received a $500 scholarship. Second year radiography student Emily Schmidt of Carrolton received a first place award along with a $60 check for her electronic poster on Infantile Cortical Hyperostosis. Second year radiography student Whitley Barto of Litchfield received a second place award along with a $45 check for her electronic poster on Craniosynostosis. Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Megan Jamison

Megan Jamison

Emily Schmidt

Emily Schmidt

Whitley Barto

Whitley Barto

NDT student Sean Dugan shares his story

Picture yourself at LLCC … Sean Dugan did! Sean came all the way from California to be part of LLCC’s neurodiagnostic technology program. Diane Liesen, program director, says, “The field of neurodiagnostics is rapidly growing, and there is a high demand for graduates. Often, students like Sean gain employment while still in school.”

LLCC nursing students assist with COVID-19 vaccinations

LLCC transition hybrid and traditional ADN nursing students along with Dr. Pam Bradley and Dr. Amanda Roche, professors of nursing, braved the cold to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health drive-through clinic Feb. 13-14. “The students were rock stars with their nursing and professional communication skills,” says Dr. Pam Bradley, professor of nursing. “The nursing mantra is ‘see one, do one, teach one.’ This weekend the students saw one, gave and taught hundreds. It was really amazing to see them in action and to have been invited to participate in this historic and hopefully only once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Cary Cheffy, director of personal health services, said the students were “fabulous and very professional. They were a big help to us and to the community.” The students will be back later this week to help get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

LLCC nursing students at drive-through clinicLLCC nursing students at drive-through clinicLLCC nursing studentsLLCC nursing professors

Ultrasound machine donated to LLCC

RPS Imaging recently donated a Samsung ultrasound machine, valued at $45,000, to LLCC’s diagnostic medical sonography program. The machine is being put to use right away by students in DMS labs.

LLCC students; Leigh Giles-Brown, program director, DMS; Samsung representatives.
Pictured left to right are: Raven Horsthemke, DMS adjunct instructor; Shelia Jack, LLCC student; Alli Richards, LLCC student; Leigh Giles-Brown, DMS program director; John Pemberton, vice president, Ultrasound Sales & Service, RPS Imaging; and Scott Van Winter. account executive, RPS Imaging.

LLCC Respiratory Care program recognized

LLCC’s Respiratory Care Program was recently recognized for meeting and exceeding the thresholds of success established by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). The organization reviewed LLCC’s program to determine ongoing compliance with accreditation standards. “This is an accomplishment of which you, your staff and institution should be proud,” said Shelley Christensen, director of accreditation services for CoARC.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, respiratory therapists are in great demand, according to Lori Badgley, LLCC adjunct faculty. “We have had a shortage of respiratory therapists in this area for a while, and we need them more than ever during this pandemic. We have respiratory therapists who will be retiring soon, and this will only add to the shortage.”

She explained the role of the respiratory therapist in treating patients with COVID-19.

“One of the major symptoms of COVID-19 is respiratory distress. People feel like they cannot breathe, and generally their body is not oxygenating well. When the oxygen in your body drops, you breathe faster, try to compensate and feel ‘heaviness’ in your chest. This is where a respiratory therapist comes in to improve breathing and oxygenation.

“Unfortunately, this virus has required many people to be placed on a mechanical ventilator because the patient could not breathe on their own any longer or could not get oxygen into their bloodstream. As respiratory therapists, we work side-by-side with nurses and physicians to provide the best care for our patients and reach successful outcomes.”

LLCC’s Respiratory Care Program is located at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, providing students with access to direct patient contact, hospital equipment and facilities. Director Jan Szoke says the program takes less than two years to complete, has 100% job placement, and many graduates receive multiple job offers with sign-on bonuses of up to $10,000. The average starting salary for a respiratory therapist in the Springfield area is approximately $43,000.

“Our graduates are hired to work in respiratory care departments in hospitals, physician offices and sleep labs. One of our graduates just started working as a traveling respiratory therapist and loves it. Most of our graduates stay to live and work in the area.”

An information session for interested students is scheduled Nov. 18, 4 HSHS St. John’s Hospital, inside the HSHS Neuroscience Center. No pre-registration is required. Those unable to attend in person may view an online information session at More information is also available at