Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ryan Alessi: Four Kentucky Nursing Programs Facing Nursing Board Review

(Courtesy of JF who reminded me that Gateway college, with the lowest scores of the four problem programs, has no tenured faculty. I found the comments of Jan Gordon, the Spencerian College executive director, in regards to their program graduates poor scores to be a good illustration of an institutional passing-of-the-buck.)

Programs facing nursing board review
By Ryan Alessi
Kentucky Herald-Leader

Four nursing school programs in Kentucky have fallen out of state compliance by failing for the third straight year to have at least 85 percent of their graduates pass the national exam.

Now officials from those schools — Northern Kentucky University, two community colleges and Spencerian College — must go before the Kentucky Board of Nursing this spring and explain how they plan to improve their instruction for one of the few burgeoning careers during this rough economy.

Officials at the four schools under review are pledging that they will bolster their nursing education to avoid the Board of Nursing taking drastic action, such as revoking its approval of the program.

"It will not be tolerated either by the college leadership or by the faculty," said Keith Bird, chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Two community colleges, Gateway in Northern Kentucky and the Lees Campus of Hazard Community and Technical College, have had three years in which less than 85 percent of their students passed National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Bird said the college system has replaced the administrators in charge of the nursing programs at both campuses. They are taking other steps, such as providing better training for nursing instructors to help students in test preparation, Bird said.

Spencerian College, which offers nursing at its Louisville campus but not its Lexington school, has failed to meet the 85 percent pass rate on the national test for the last six years.

Jan M. Gordon, executive director of Spencerian College, said in a statement that the Kentucky Board of Nursing's expectations might be too stringent. Only two state boards require the 85 percent success rate for first-time exam takers, she said.

"We feel that while well-intentioned, the KBN is exceeding its authority in disciplining schools for the first attempt test-taking abilities of its graduates," Gordon said. "There are many factors which can influence a person's ability to pass a standardized test that have nothing to do with the educational institution they attended."

Gordon said it would be a mistake for the Kentucky Board of Nursing to move to close down any program that is out of compliance.

"It could result in the loss of potentially over 500 registered nurses annually in the commonwealth, at a time when our hospitals and nursing homes are facing a historic shortage of nurses," Gordon said. "We support high standards for nursing, but punishing the institution does nothing to improve patient care."

To Read the Rest of the Report

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