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Practical nursing program officially launched

Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary Lawler was joined by a number of community partners and university staff to officially launch the newest Continuing Education program in practical nursing.

The program, an 18-month non-credit curriculum offered in the evening and on weekends, begins June 22 in a newly renovated classroom and laboratory in the lower level of the Slusser/Bayzick Building. Students will take classes at Penn State Hazleton and attend clinical studies at area partner facilities.

“Penn State Hazleton has been an educational partner in the Greater Hazleton area for more than 75 years. We are pleased to bring new programs to the region, especially a program like this that fulfills the dual purpose of the outreach mission of the University while addressing the statewide nursing shortage,” said Dr. Lawler.


Sally McGuire, director, Penn State Hazleton Office of Continuing Education announced that Patrice M. Rimbey, Hazleton, has been named program coordinator of the Penn State Hazleton Practical Nursing Program. A healthcare professional for more than 18 years, Rimbey has served in a variety of positions as a medical laboratory technician, registered nurse, clinical coordinator and director of surgical services. She also has been an instructor at Lehigh Carbon Community College and has developed educational programs for nurses as part of her duties as a clinical coordinator. 


Rimbey earned an associate degree in medical laboratory technology from Penn State Hazleton, an associate degree in nursing from Luzerne County Community College, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Wilkes University.


Rimbey said, “This is the only practical nursing program in the area to offer classes in the evening and on weekends, which allows students to continue to work while taking classes.”


The program consists of four levels of instruction focusing on:

  • “Structure and Function of the Human Body” and “Fundamentals of Practical Nursing”
  • “Concepts of Basic Medical-Surgical Nursing Care”
  • “Nursing Care of Adults and Children”
  • and “Nursing Care of the Adult.”


The nursing program is designed to provide students with knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgment to provide effective nursing care under the direction of a licensed professional health-team member. Students who successfully complete this program will meet the requirements to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).


Information on the practical nursing program may be obtained by calling Rimbey at 570-450-3110. 

Practical nursing ribbon cutting 















Participating in Penn State Hazleton’s ribbon cutting for the Practical Nursing program were,
front row, from left, Gary Guldin, statewide program manager, Penn State Practical Nursing
program; Patrice Rimbey, program coordinator, Penn State Hazleton Practical Nursing; Sally
McGuire, director, Penn State Hazleton Continuing Education; and Sharon Rohrbach, D.O.,
member, Penn State Hazleton advisory board. Back row, from left, Michele Mahovich,
representing State Rep. Todd Eachus; Maryanne Petrilla, Luzerne County Commissioner;
Lori Reiner and Laura Jones, clinical instructors; Dr. Gary Lawler, Penn State Hazleton
chancellor; Keith Rohrbach, Ph.D., CEO, MedQ Systems, Inc.; Tony Cusatis, vice president,
Relationship Manager, KNBT; and William Curley, executive director, Statewide Continuing
Education, Penn State.

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