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For nursing students, first time is the charm

Monday, April 1, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

All the members of the last two graduating classes of the associate degree in nursing program at Patrick Henry Community College passed the licensure examination for registered nurses on their first try.

“Just a handful of programs do achieve 100 percent (passing rates),” said Paula B. Saxby, R.N., Ph.D., deputy executive director of the Virginia Board of Nursing. She added that for a class to achieve a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) on the first attempt is “excellent.”

Students who do not pass the test on the first try can take it again, she said.

The fact that PHCC’s last two graduating classes had 100 percent first-time pass rates indicates “it’s a solid program and doing what it is supposed to be, with appropriate faculty, appropriate clinical sites and clinical experiences to help them (students) be successful,” Saxby said.

PHCC’s associate degree in nursing program not only is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing but accredited (by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). That is “another mark of approval,” she said. Not all programs in Virginia are accredited, she added.

“The nursing curriculum is very rigorous,” Kris Landrum, the college’s public relations and marketing manager, said of the program. It requires “a great deal of dedication and determination. It is definitely an accomplishment when students can master the material so they can pass it on the first try. It’s considered quite impressive when you can.”

The achievement of 100 percent pass rates is a testament to the quality of the instruction, faculty, resources and facilities provided by the college, and the dedication of the students, Landrum said. She added that Amy Webster is head of the nursing department at PHCC.

Twenty students graduated from PHCC’s program in May 2012, and 16 graduated in December 2012, Landrum said.

Spring 2012 graduates were Jennifer Harris, Whitney Dillon, Kathy Mann, Kelsey Chew, Stephanie Hoffman, Allison McDaniel, Emily Wright, Naomi Sterba, Donna Sebastian, Holly Connor, Tonya Smith, Ann Martin, Ashley Overfelt, Candice Fulchor, Afton McPeak, Heather Cassel, Wilson Cobbler, Chris Adkins, John Muncy and Stacia Kellam, according to information from PHCC.

Fall 2012 graduates were Tracey Booth of Fieldale; Mark Bousman, Brittany Brown, Ashley Hill, Jacob Moore, Elizabeth Nalls, Ardaith Winslow and Brittany Wood, all of Martinsville; Casey Cassell and Andrea Oakes, both of Bassett; Heather Phelps of Cascade; Tiffany Williams of Ridgeway; Grace Plaster of Patrick Springs; Brad Shelton of Stuart; Janet Holt of Danville; and Kaitlyn Nicole Wimmer of Union Hall.

An accrediting team visited PHCC’s program recently, and the college expects to find out this summer whether the program is reaccredited, Landrum said in an email.

According to information on the Virginia Board of Nursing website, PHCC students had an overall first-time pass rate of 91.9 percent for the 2012 calendar year, but Saxby said that includes not only students in the spring and fall 2012 graduating classes, but students from other classes who took the exam. Students who retake the exam are not reflected in the first-time pass rate, she said.

PHCC students’ first-time pass rates were 85.4 percent in 2011, 77.78 percent in 2010, 80.65 percent in 2009, 87.2 percent in 2008 and 92.5 percent in 2007, according to information on the Virginia Board of Nursing website.

Compared with other associate degree in nursing programs in Virginia listed on the Virginia Board of Nursing website, PHCC students’ first-time pass rates ranked second best among 26 programs in which students took the exam in 2007, 10th best among 26 programs in 2008, 24th best among 31 programs in 2009, 30th best among 38 programs in 2010 and 29th best among 41 programs in 2011. Complete comparative information for 2012 was not available from the website.


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