PDCCC nursing program shows improvement

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FRANKLIN—After failing to have 80 percent of its students pass the state boards in 2009 and 2010, the Paul D. Camp Community College nursing program is seeing better results this year.

Nearly 92 percent of the second-year nursing students passed the test by the end of the third quarter. If the trend continues, the program will be taken off “conditional approval,” pending Virginia Board of Nursing approval, said Tomeka Dowling, nursing education consultant with the board.

Seventy-seven percent passed the tests in 2009 and 73 percent in 2010.

“That’s a great jump,” Dowling said.

Dr. Candace Rodgers, head of the nursing and allied health programs at PDCCC, attributed the highest pass rate so far in the six-year program to changes made in the admission process, program grade-point average and a new testing system.

The minimum GPA to get into the program is now 2.5, and the strengthened admission process includes a test to show the readiness of students to begin the nursing program, Rodgers said.

The new testing system includes a review course, she said.

Rodgers attributed the previous lower scores to the relative newness of the program.

“When you’re new at anything, you work continuously to get better,” she said. “This is a result of what we’ve been doing every year to improve the program.”

PDCCC President Paul W. Conco added that study guides and new simulation labs were added to better the scores.

Conco also said PDCCC teamed up with sister colleges to look at the program and get input on improvements.

“We’re glad our students did well on the tests,” Conco said. “It’s good for us and it’s good for the students.”