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Undergraduate nursing program OK’d by board

On April 10, Grambling State University and the Louisiana State Board of Nursing reached an agreement to maintain GSU’s undergraduate nursing program, the closure of which had been rumored for some time.

Grambling officials agreed to enter into a signed consent agreement with the Louisiana State Board of Nursing during a board meeting held in Baton Rouge on April 9.

The final terms of the agreement are still in negotiation; nonetheless, it grants Grambling an extension to meet required licensure examination pass rates.

The School of Nursing received official notification from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) regarding its continued accreditation for the bachelor of science and master of science degrees in nursing, including post-master’s certificate.

On April 2, the ACEN upheld, without conditions, the program’s accreditation through 2020.

Dr. Danita Potter, head of the School of Nursing, congratulated the nursing faculty and staff “for their dedication and hard work in preparing for all accreditation visits and for preparing our students for academic success.”

She also thanked students, community participants, library staff, School of Nursing consultants, and Advisory Board members.

In order to obtain a license to become a registered nurse, students must pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). State regulations require an accredited nursing program to maintain a licensure examination pass rate of 80 percent among first-time test-takers, which the nursing program has been struggling to meet since 2010.

However, the faculty, staff and students have worked diligently to improve the curriculum and implement measures to increase students’ exam pass rates.

One of the strategies implemented in this effort to improve NCLEX first-time success rates was to initiate a pre-nursing entrance examination to screen applicants prior to enrollment in the program.

The Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Nursing Education’s learning systems have been implemented at GSU to help increase passing rates among graduates.

Additionally, the School of Nursing has included a mentoring program and created new workshops to help graduating seniors prepare for the NCLEX exam, adjusting the curriculum to include more materials based on NCLEX preparation materials, and implementing a remediation plan and enhancement session for students. With these new measures in place, GSU students’ exam pass rates rose from 64 percent in 2013 to 75 percent in 2014.

Recent data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the organization that provides national certification examinations for family nurse practitioner graduates (FNP), indicated that for 2014 there were 10 FNP graduates, nine of whom passed their certification examination on their first attempt for a 90 percent pass rate.

According to the licensure pass rate report, which encompassed all the pass rates for GSU, Louisiana and nationally, there was a pass rate of 63.24 percent in 2013, and an increase to 75.44 percent in 2014. The overall Louisiana pass rate was 87.01 in 2013, which decreased to 85.87 percent in 2014, with the national level being 85.18 percent in 2013 and 81.87 percent in 2014.

The School of Nursing has been an important part of Grambling for over three decades and has prepared more than 2,000 students to enter the healthcare industry. It is one of the most sought-after programs on campus. The School of Nursing has been active in bringing in quality students and creating diversity, and has served as a major contributor in increasing the GSU enrollment.

GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick thanked “our alumni and community partners for lending their support for Grambling’s undergraduate nursing program.”

She also thanked our legislative delegation, especially Sen. Rick Gallot, Rep. Patrick Jefferson and Rep. Katrina Jackson. “Their continued support and thoughtful contributions toward crafting a sustainable solution are greatly appreciated.”