Press Release
Posted July 28, 2021
Twenty-two new graduates of Lorain County Community College’s Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program are prepared to use their skills to care for those in need. The graduates participated in a nursing pinning ceremony on Monday, July 26. 
LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., congratulated the students for completing the rigorous LPN program at a time when healthcare workers are in high demand due to the corona virus pandemic.   
“These LPN graduates have answered the call to help those in need. I speak for our entire community when I say thank you for all you to do help those around you,” Ballinger said.  

LPN graduates
LPN graduates

The LPN one-year technical certificate program is perfect for students looking for a career as an LPN or for those who want to use it as a first step towards becoming a registered nurse (RN), explained Debbie Brown, coordinator of LCCC’s LPN program.  
LPN graduates Raquel Torres, Katryn Swiggett and Otwan Gilbert perfectly illustrate Brown’s point.  
Torres, 33 of Elyria, has worked as an STNA for 11 years with the goal of advancing her nursing education to eventually earn her RN degree. She came into LCCC’s LPN program last year and put her all into the program, she said. Her efforts were noticed by the nursing faculty and Torres was awarded the Heart of Nursing Award during Monday’s pinning ceremony. The award includes a $500 scholarship created by Ballinger in memory of her mother who would have turned 92 on the day of the pinning ceremony.

LPN Heart of Nursing Raquel Torres
Raquel Torres

“I am honored and excited for this award,” Torres said. “This has been an amazing experience and one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. I’m so thankful to the instructors for their patience and support.” 
Swigget, 52 of Sheffield Lake, has a 26-year background as an administrator in long-term care and plans to go back to that health care setting – hopefully with the same organization.  “My goal is to work as an LPN.  I believe it’s the right career choice for me,” she said.  
Gilbert, who graduated in 2015 from Lorain High School and was the ROTC cadet battalion commander his senior year, gravitated to a career in health care after losing both his adoptive parents – his father in 2015 and his mother in 2018 – to lung cancer.   

Katie Swiggett and Otwan Gilbert
Katie Swiggett and Otwan Gilbert

He wants to become an RN but knows he needs a good base to prepare him for the RN program. He is confident that the LPN program has done just that, and he is ready to take on the RN program after graduating from the LPN program.  “I hope to eventually work in emergency medicine or intensive care,” Gilbert said.  
“Katie, Otwan and Raquel made a choice that was right for them and that will ultimately make them successful,” Brown said.  
The graduates said completing their training while adjusting to COVID protocols was challenging but worth it. 
“It’s been a very good experience for me,” said Swiggett.   
Gilbert is happy he chose the LCCC LPN program. “I was familiar with LCCC and other graduates also recommended it to me,” he said.  “But I really didn’t realize how good it is until I got in the program.”  
And learning that 94% of LCCC nursing grads pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) added to his confidence that he chose the right path.  “It made me feel good to know that I would be well prepared to pass the NCLEX,” Gilbert said.  
What’s more, after passing the exam, nearly 100% of graduates find employment in the field – a statistic that was not surprising for Swiggett. 
“I picked LCCC because it has such a good reputation. When I was hiring people in my previous position, I would always try and find LCCC grads because they were so well rounded and ready to go,” she said.  
The program’s consistently high rate of passage on the NCLEX is why Practical Nursing has ranked LCCC’s LPN program as the sixth best in the state out of 61 programs it reviewed.   
Gilbert, Swiggett and Torres attribute much of their success and the program’s high marks to the faculty.   
“Our instructors are so dedicated that no matter when I had a question, I always got an answer,” Swiggett said.  “They really make sure you understand the material.”  
“When COVID threw a wrench into the program and forced students to take extra precautions in their clinical settings, the instructors worked really hard to figure out solutions with us,” Gilbert said.  
For more information on the LCCC LPN one-year certificate program, visit LCCC’s Nursing Programs.  
Fall classes begin on August 23.