By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Cleveland State Community College has reached the milestone it needed to attain to be able to accept new nursing students again. “Our graduates have been doing well,” said Dr. Bill Seymour, …
Cleveland State Community College has reached the milestone it needed to attain to be able to accept new nursing students again.
“Our graduates have been doing well,” said Dr. Bill Seymour, president of Cleveland State. “We are confident we will be able to start a new cohort soon.”
In 2016, the Tennessee Board of Nursing ordered the college to stop admitting students into its nursing program. This order came after too few nursing graduates had passed the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, on their first try.
The board requires holds colleges accountable to make sure their students have at least an 85 percent first-time pass rate on the NCLEX. This is the case even though these exams are taken after students graduate.
The local college had a first-time pass rate of 82 percent in 2015, which led to the order to suspend admission to the nursing program. The order came after three straight years of pass rates below 85 percent, the college having seen 81 percent in 2013 and 70 percent in 2014.
Since the admission suspension, college faculty have continued working with current nursing students to prepare them for the NCLEX, as well as following the progress of graduates who had yet to take the exam.
With 38 of those 43 graduates having passed the NCLEX on the first try, CSCC now has a first-time NCLEX pass rate of over 88 percent. Seymour said the college has reached the milestone it needed to meet for the Board of Nursing to approve the college’s change in status.
“The Board of Nursing requires us to get through one full calendar year, and most of our graduates passed,” Seymour said. “We did have five who failed on their first try, but four of them have since retaken the exam and passed.”
Though CSCC has been unable to accept new nursing students, faculty have up until just recently been teaching two cohorts of students who were accepted before the Board of Nursing’s ruling. One cohort graduated in May 2017, and the other graduated in December 2017.
Seymour stressed faculty have been implementing multiple measures to ensure students’ success since the ruling was issued. These have included adding more academic support services for nursing majors and changing how students take the NCLEX. All nursing students now have to take and pass NCLEX practice tests before CSCC will clear them to take the real thing.
“The important thing to remember is we’ve never stopped teaching nursing here,” Seymour said. “We have had nursing students with us this whole time.”
The Tennessee Board of Nursing meets in May, and Seymour said he is “confident” the college will be cleared to accept new nursing students again.
He and other leaders with the college are so confident, in fact, that they are now making plans for a new nursing cohort. The college is now accepting “pre-nursing” students who could enroll in the nursing program as soon as the state board’s decision is made.
“There is a good likelihood our first new cohort could be in the summer,” said Seymour. “We have students at Cleveland State now who are waiting to start the program. We have a good history with our nursing program, and we hope to continue in that success.”
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