Student-Run Since '51

Meet that MCC face: Ellie Sweet

Casey Allbee, Staff Writer

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Hospitals across the country are filled with nurses who work around the clock in order to better the lives of others physically, mentally and emotionally. The MCC Nursing Department educates and trains students to reach their goals as future nurses in order to one day enrich the lives of others.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ellie Sweet, MCC and EICCD lead nursing instructor and lead classroom instructor for 24 years, to gain insight about her experiences with the department. With a welcoming and warm personality, Ellie Sweet was excited to share her knowledge about the department and the nursing profession.
Q: What classes do you usually teach?
A: “I teach Nursing Fundamentals, which is their very first class for nursing. I teach Concepts and Clinical Nursing, which is the main medical/surgical part. I teach Principles of Pharmacology and then I also teach Transition to Practice, which is the exit course for those students exiting as Licensed Practical Nurses.”
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: “I think it’s about getting students to see the importance of what they do. I think when that light bulb goes off…I think that’s it…when you see them go ‘Oh, yes!’ What we do is so, so important to the people and their lives and to the families and to the community. It’s so far reaching what we do. When they can see that it is like yes.”
Q: What do you love most about MCC?
A: “I have been here for so long, that it’s like family. I grew up in a very small town and went to a very small college and so when I came here, I felt like I was going home again. I like the ability to know people and to recognize everybody when I see them. That is important to me, to feel a connectedness.”
Q: Do you have a favorite memory regarding one of your classes?
A: “I have classes that I just remember with such fondness. Each class brings something so special and different and I think that’s why I have stayed here for so long. Each class brings something that is so invigorating and so exciting. I have to wear reading glasses and tend to wear my glasses down on my nose. I used to bring this huge container of pop with me everyday. [One day] I walk in and here’s a student sitting there and she’s wearing my glasses and she’s got my mug. It made me laugh. They say imitation is the greatest of compliments!”
The nursing department offers classes taught by Ellie Sweet and Barb Adlam, who instructs the clinical side of the courses. The department offers Licensed Practical Nurse program courses and if students wish to be a Registered Nurses, they can start their prerequisites at MCC then must go to Scott Community College in Bettendorf to continue.
The department only accepts 16 students at MCC and they must have a high school diploma, GED or HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). They have to take a Compass test, must have at least a 2.0 GPA and must file an application.
Students in this department spend 30-40 hours per week study time and a minimum 12 hours per week in clinical. The instructors advise that their students work outside of school no more than 16 hours a week maximum.
Students who are studying to become an LPN or an RN have the ability to obtain a nursing position within a facility with either an AA or BA degree. Ellie Sweet explained how obtaining an AA or BA degree in nursing is “a personal decision” and that mandating nurses to have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree “is still being discussed…and at this point the legislature is doing nothing to mandate that. It is not a law that [they] have to have a bachelor’s degree.”


At the beginning of March, the Nursing Department received a high-tech computerized medication administration machine called an Omnicell that is for scheduled drugs. MCC partnered with Genesis Medical Center and nursing students have the opportunity to use the same training program that new nurses at the hospital are using during their orientation. When using the Omnicell, the student or nurse will pull up a patient with a list of their medications on the computer screen. They then select the medication that needs to be administered and a drawer blinks, signifying that the medication is stored in that particular place.
While using the Omni Cell in the classroom, the instructor has the ability to put a quiz question in the program that the student must answer before obtaining a medication.

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Student-Run Since '51
Meet that MCC face: Ellie Sweet