Rasmussen College’s inaugural graduating class of registered nurses was honored in a Pinning Ceremony at the Hope Hospice House in Cape Coral.

This hospice house is one of four operated by Hope HealthCare Services in Lee County and the venue where the nurses participated in their first clinical experience. The 11 nurses-in-training were able to gain practical experience with patients, according to Jackie Houle, dean of nursing at the college’s Fort Myers campus.

“We thought it would be nice for the students to finish where they started,” Houle said. “I think the venue was very befitting for our nurses.”

As part of the two-year-old nursing program at Rasmussen, students complete 570 hours of clinical experience to earn an associate degree. At the hospice house, students learn fundamental skills, including bathing, mealtime assistance, transporting patients and administering medications, Houle said.

“This is the first clinical experience they have as students, and Hope has done a great job ensuring that it’s a meaningful one,” she said. “The staff is always welcoming and willing to provide them with real-world experience as a clinical partner.”

Rasmussen’s nursing program, launched in the summer of 2010, currently has 191 nursing candidates who will complete their fundamental clinical experience at a Hope Hospice House.

The college has been approved to offer degrees in licensed practical nursing beginning in October. In addition to the associate RN degree, the school also provides an LPN-to-RN mobility program that allows LPNs to transfer credits toward an RN.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to share our special kind of care with the students of Rasmussen College. At Hope, they have experiences that will shape their careers, touch their hearts and make a difference,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services. “The clinical and intrinsic benefits of Hope Hospice will help them throughout their journey.”