Nursing program re-opens admissions

* 97 percent pass rate for registered nursing graduates

Sarah Adams / Associate Editor

Del Mar College President Dr. Mark Escamilla announced an updated passing rate of nursing students completing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN) at 97 percent, Nov. 1.
With this announcement the Department of Nurse Education (DNE) has now re-opened admissions to the nursing program.
According to Dr. Evangeline DeLeon, the new chair of the Department of Nurse Education, the DNE had been put on a Conditional Approval Status due to passing rates falling below 80 percent.
Under this Conditional Approval Status, the program could not admit new nursing majors or re-admit nursing majors that dropped out or failed but could continue educating students already enrolled.
According to the DNE online fact sheet, the program pass rate for first-time test-takers had maintained an above 80 percentile until 2009.
In 2008, scores were 83.5 percent or 172 students out of 206 but dropped to 77.2 percent the following year. Along with the drop in scores, the program also lost six full time faculty members due to retirement.
With this rate, the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) put the program on the Conditional Approval Status until it could show educational progress to be at least 80 percent passing rate, according to DeLeon.
Along with increase of rates on the state licensing test, students applying to the DNE had to meet a 75 percent passing rate on the program’s entrance exam.
Upon completing pre-requisites, nursing majors must complete the HESI A2 standardized assessment to be admitted to the program. It is only after pre-requisites and a 75 percent or higher on the HESI can a student complete his or her Associates of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Nursing to get a degree. Then they are to take the NCLEX to become licensed.
According to DeLeon, a process of self-studies has been performed to find out where the problems exist and how they can be fixed.
There were direct correlations between failing licensure exams and the DNE enrollment exams.
Although the results of both exams seem related, DeLeon explained that other issues such as faculty loss due to retirement and job relocation have also affected the program testing rates.
“We can never isolate the problem to one thing.” DeLeon said.
Del Mar College has began implementing stronger curriculum support as well as the State-Wide At-Risk Tracking and Intervention for Student Nurses (SATIN) project to better predict student success in the nursing program.
According to a press release by DMC College Relations, department officials reviewed 59 nursing applicants this week and 53 of these individuals are to begin the new cohort of RN students in the Spring 2013 semester.

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