Connect SI: Collaborating for Regional Prosperity
SIONI Graduate & Registered Nurse Donna Mack
Donna Mack, Registered Nurse
and SIONI graduate, currently works with dialysis patients at Fresenius Medical Care in Harrisburg, Illinois.


Celebrate SI
The following stories and news articles highlight our current events
and successes:

SIONI Graduate Celebrates Her Success!

  • May 15, 2012 — Donna Mack, 51, knew that she wanted to work as a medical professional since high school. Donna initially studied to become a paramedic at the College of DuPage and then achieved her degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Triton College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She worked first as a Paramedic, then as an LPN assisting with organ kidney transplants. Donna found that she loved taking care of patients. She has been assisting patients with dialysis care at Fresenius Medical Care in Harrisburg, Illinois since 1997.

    Donna wanted to become a Registered Nurse (RN), but was unable to return to school and continue to work. Since she had to keep her current job, Donna needed to find a flexible training schedule.
    “There was no other way I would be able to finish my degree,” Donna explained. She heard about the SIONI program from a friend. SIONI seemed like a perfect solution — enabling Donna to work toward becoming a Registered Nurse and also keep her job as an LPN.

    The 1-year program was very intense. With 3 exams per module and clinical training on Saturdays, Donna had much to learn in a condensed time period. However, with discipline and dedication, Donna successfully graduated from the SIONI program in December 2011, and is now a Registered Nurse. SIONI was a valuable learning experience according to Donna — helping to advance her career, plus allowing her to do more in her current job.

    Donna would recommend the SIONI program to other working LPNs wanting to become RNs.
    “I loved the flexibility of the SIONI program. It was the only way that I could further my education. I really enjoyed participating in the program at Shawnee College, where instructors were more open to the online aspect of the program,” Donna stated. “College can be outrageously expensive. We need to do things a little differently, and have different avenues available for education,” she added.

    Donna’s advice to working LPNs considering the program,
    “Be very committed... realize what your time constraints are and be flexible with them. You have to be disciplined and a self-motivator. You can’t procrastinate. I’ve spent more time studying in one year than I did in the traditional classroom experience!”

    Donna plans to earn her BSN degree and is currently taking general courses at Southeastern Illinois College and Mc Kendree University. She lives in Equality, Illinois with her husband and two children, ages 8 and 14.

    How to Apply
    The SIONI program is currently offered at Rend Lake College, Shawnee Community College, and Southeastern Illinois College. To participate, general education courses must be completed before beginning the SIONI program. Laptops are provided to students for the duration of the program. Anyone interested in applying for the SIONI program should contact the nursing department at their home campus for specific entrance requirements.

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