The graduate nursing program at Grambling State recently achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the national certification exam. However, the undergraduate program has been under fire in recent years, but it seems to have reached an all time high now that there are rumors of the program being shut down.
In a letter obtained by The Gramblinite, Dr. Connie Walton, the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, reached out to the president of the Grambling University National Alumni Association to explain the current accreditation status of the nursing program. She states that both the undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited, but the undergraduate program is accredited with a condition, because of low licensure test scores.
”Dr. Janet Guyden, Dean for the College of Professional & Graduate Studies, has confirmed that the School of Nursing is following the Louisiana State Board of Nursing’s policies,” Walton states in a letter to GUNAA President Melissa Bickham.
”She also emphasized that LSBN’s ruling does not affect students who are currently enrolled in the professional component of the nursing program,” the letter continues.
The concerns are the National Council Licensure Examination scores on the first attempt of taking the test; the score must be increased. The NCLEX is an examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States.
For the past 12 years, the nursing program has struggled to keep the NCLEX scores at 80 or above. This led to the school not accepting any new students into the nursing program since last semester.
Dr. Danita Potter, the chief nurse administrator, could not be reached for comment.
Kierra Rodgers, a junior third level nursing major from Dallas, said that from her understanding, “the nursing program is accredited until 2020.”
GSU’s passing rate was a little above 60 percent in 2013.
”Unfortunately, students simply aren’t being prepared properly for the NCLEX and it reflects in the scores,” said Rodgers. “The nursing administration is living in a fantasy world thinking everything is fine. It’s not OK! It upsets me that they try to sugar-coat what’s really going on.”
Rodgers said pre-nursing students just recently found out they aren’t admitting any more students into the professional component in the fall.
that my nursing degree from Grambling will be worth anything? I spend four years slaving in one of the toughest departments on campus and I can’t guarantee I’ll be graduating from an accredited program. It’s unbelievable. Level 5 students are afraid to even schedule graduation pictures or buy a graduation outfit out of fear they may not walk because of the Kaplan progression tests and exit exams. It’s just not right.
4. What are your personal plans knowing that these rumors could be a possibility?
I have already taken the initiative and started my transition over to the biology department. The opportunities offered to me over there are endless. I have some of the best mentors and advisors you could possibly ask for. It’s crazy to think I’ve received more assistance in the biology department in the past few weeks than I have in the past 5-6 semesters in nursing. When I told one of the nursing administrators I was changing my major, all she did was look at me. Her face said, “And why are you telling me this?” That just showed me how much they really care. Every semester they lose quality students. They have no one to blame but themselves.
5. Who do you blame for the low NCLEX scores?
To be quite honest, the lack of quality professors. Students can also work harder on their own time and utilize NCLEX books and take prep courses, but I can name on one hand the instructors that actually teach. They are continually making the curriculum, tests and grading scale harder to raise the board scores and “better prepare us”, but fail to “teach harder” to make sure we are ready to face these challenges.
6. What are some of the struggles of being a nursing student? And are they worth it?
Nursing is not easy. Anyone who believes it is is sadly mistaken. The time spent studying, learning in the classroom, and working at clinicals barely leaves you anytime to enjoy the full college experience. You are pushing yourself to complete a program that is on a rigorous grading scale and pass exams that could make or break you, but you do it because you want to achieve your dream of becoming a nurse. The challenges we face as nursing students only become worth it once we graduate, successfully pass the NCLEX and get the opportunity to put our hard-earned degree to use in a healthcare setting. Once we are able to see how the care we provide our patients changes their lives for the better, then it’ll all have been worth it.
The NCLEX scores for graduates of Grambling’s nursing program have been in the 60th percentile for the last three years, with 69.12% in 2011, 65.66% in 2012, and 64% in 2013. Most nursing programs have a high 90% passing rate on the NCLEX.