a group of professionals at a press conference

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. -- In order to meet an ongoing shortage of healthcare providers in our community, Baxter Regional has partnered with Arkansas State University-Mountain Home to provide an opportunity for Mountain Home High School students to begin their nursing careers prior to graduation. On Wednesday, May 4, the partnership was announced by the organizations’ leaders as a way to expand the college’s current LPN (licensed practical nurse) program to provide high school students with financial support as they complete their coursework. The program’s goal is to broaden the nursing pool in this community while providing cutting-edge educational opportunities to local students. 

This high school LPN program will allow MHHS seniors who have taken the appropriate pre-requisite courses and met all admission requirements to apply for acceptance into the LPN program beginning in the spring of their senior year. 

Applicants for this program will apply for a Baxter Regional scholarship and will participate in a scholarship interview process. Scholarship recipients will receive an award that will pay for any tuition and fees not covered by other sources for the LPN program. In addition, the student will also receive a $500 stipend each month during the 12-month LPN program. Before the program begins in the spring of senior year, accepted students will be recognized at a ceremony and will receive a laptop computer to celebrate their acceptance into the program and to ensure they have the technology resources needed to complete the program. 

After high school graduation, students in this program will continue taking LPN courses through the summer and fall semester and will graduate with their LPN credentials the December following their high school graduation. Scholarship recipients will be required to complete at least a one-year commitment to working at Baxter Regional upon program completion. 

“I think this opportunity shows how dedicated we are to providing incredible opportunities for student success while also supporting the workforce needs in our community,” Dr. Jake Long, superintendent of Mountain Home Public Schools said. “This gives students a chance to start their careers without student debt, making great money, and making a difference right here in the place where they were raised. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Robin Myers, Chancellor of ASU-Mountain Home, said this program is just one way Baxter Regional gives back to the community. “Baxter Regional is always willing to step in and support our local students,” he said. “So many successful programs at ASUMH started with a powerful partnership between our organizations, and I have no doubt that this will be a successful initiative as well.”

Barney Larry, who serves as the vice president of business development at Baxter Regional and as the executive director of the Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation, said the goal of this program is to meet healthcare needs and provide area students with an opportunity to grow professionally on the local level. “As we look for ways to recruit and retain highly-qualified healthcare professionals, this homegrown partnership is ideal,” he said. “The hospital foundation will fund this scholarship program through the Anderson-Downes endowment. Ms. Anderson and Ms. Downes established this scholarship as an avenue for individuals to become nurses, paramedics, and EMTs, because they were passionate about this community and our healthcare needs. To be able to offer this opportunity to high school students and help them earn nursing licenses without student debt is a blessing for the students, their families, and ultimately for the patients we will treat at Baxter Regional.” 

MHHS seniors interested in this program should contact their high school counselor about registration.