A nursing program scrutinized
A struggling nursing school will get closer scrutiny from UNC system officials, who last week voted to temporarily suspend undergraduate enrollment in the program.
Students in A nursing program have failed to meet the system’s minimum standards for passing the national licensing exam over the past four years. The UNC Board of Governors voted to temporarily suspend undergraduate enrollment in the nursing program pending a revie michael kors outlet online w. This decision does not affect current nursing students or those already accepted into the program for the fall semester.
The board requires that 85 percent of a nursing school’s students pass the National Council Licensure Examination on the first try. A fell shy of that goal in 2013 with 81 percent of students passing the test. In 2012, 82 percent of students passed the exam on their first try. Board of Nursing and is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
But Joni Worthington, spokeswoman for the UNC system, said system leaders will convene a panel within 60 days to review the university’s nursing program. Worthington said that step is in line with board policy for any nursing program that has failed to meet the 85 percent threshold for two consec michael kors outlet online utive years.
A is the only UNC school that did not meet that standard last year.
A in 2012 implemented a plan outlining measures to boost students’ performance on the exam. Worthington said the panel could conclude that the remedial programs in place are sufficient and the program is making progress, or that the university should take additional measures. She could not give a timetable for when the panel would make its recommendations.
A officials are upbeat about the future of the program. Nursing dean Inez Tuck said the school has implemented several measures, including hiring more faculty, revamping the curriculum and increasing admissions standards to better prepare students for the exam and careers in nursing.
“I’m feeling really good about the things that we have done,” Tuck said Wednesday. “We have the right curriculum. We have an experienced faculty with new folks, as well as doing some faculty development. We have a cohort of students coming into the major that are better academically prepared. I’m feeling really positive about our future michael kors outlet online direction.”
Tuck started as A nursing dean in July 2011 following a period of interim leadership. That year, 74 percent of nursing students passed the exam, up from 61 percent in 2010.
In 2012, the university’s pass rate jumped to 82 percent. Of the 57 students who took the test for the first time in 2013, 46 passed, according to UNC system data, resulting in the 81 percent pass rate.
A has increased its admission standards for pre nursing majors, including requiring students to make a C or better on their first attempt in nursing pre requisite courses to apply to the nursing program, leading to a smaller but better prepared crop of nursing students, Tuck said. The nursing class starting in the fall has an average GPA of 3.42, she said.
A has revamped its nursing curriculum, adding courses and enhancing others to better reflect the changing field. And Tuck said the university reorganized the School of Nursing’s student services office, hiring another academic adviser and assigning junior and senior nursing students an academic coach a faculty member that mentors them from the time they enter the major until they take the exam. Board of Nursing monitors nursing education programs and has its own set of standards. The board requires pass rates to be at least 95 percent of the national passing rate based on a three year average. That standard for 2013 was 83 percent.
Nursing programs that don’t meet that standard must give the board written plans for improvement. Programs that don’t show improvement after three consecutive years are put on warning by the board.
Crystal Harris, education manager for the state nursing board, said she has worked closely with Tuck and A nursing faculty over the past four years. Harris said she has visited the campus and discussed with faculty ways to improve the program.
Harris said having a permanent dean in place has helped move the program forward, noting A was previously on warning status with the Board of Nursing. That status has been removed, and the program now has the board’s full approval.
She said she’s pleased with A improvement and that the nursing program is where she would expect it to be at this point in its turnaround effort.
“When you change your teaching methods, it’s not going to show up immediately,” said Harris, adding that it might take a couple of years before a program sees its scores improve.
Overall enrollment in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs grew from 4,575 to 6,006 students since fall 2009, according to the system’s most recent nursing report.
The number of nursing degrees UNC schools have granted at all levels since the 2008 09 school year increased from 2,105 to 2,525.
Several schools have expanded their nursing programs.
UNC last year granted approval to six schools including UNCG to offer doctor of nursing practice programs, which trains nurses for high level clinical practice.
But other UNC schools have endured struggles with nursing programs that are similar to A
Fayetteville State’s chancellor in 2009 suspended new enrollment in the school’s nursing program because of low pass rates among its students. The school restarted its program in 2011.
Because that university’s three year average pas michael kors outlet online s rate 81 percent fell short of the state board of nursing’s three year average passing standard of 83 percent, it had to submit to the board an improvement plan for the upcoming academic year.