Amarillo, TX - The Associate Degree Nursing Program at Amarillo College, put on warning by the Texas Board of Nursing in January, is now excelling.
To become a registered nurse, all students must take the national NCLEX-RN exam. That exam recently became more rigorous and for two back-to-back years, not enough AC nursing students passed the test. However, this year that is not the case.
Kerrie Young has been teaching nursing at AC for eight years. This past year, she's seen some big changes in classroom. "We've changed the environment of the classroom. It's not your traditional classroom anymore. We've brought in simulation into the classroom. That allows our students to go from a knowledge-based learning system into a more application-based. What that does is translated over to their testing."
Nearly 95 percent of the last two graduating classes passed the NCLEX-RN the first time. The Texas Board of Nursing requires at least 80 percent for schools to remain in good standing.
This latest success means come January, AC's warning from the board will be removed and the school will return to its "full approval" status. "Pass rates are an indication of a quality nursing program," said Dr. Richard Pullen, AC's Dean of Nursing. "We want to continue and we will continue having high pass rates because we at Amarillo College are the primary provider or educator of initial RNs in the Texas Panhandle."
The board is also giving AC a commendation for achieving a pass rate higher than 90 percent. Only 17 of 69 nursing programs in the state accomplished this, meaning AC now ranks among the top 10.
"Amarillo College was required to submit a Self-Study Report to the Board of Nursing in 2014 following their drop in NCLEX pass rate in 2013," said Dr.
Janice Hooper, the Board's nursing consultant for education. "Their Report identified areas for improvement, and the faculty were diligent in implementing measures to improve the pass rate. The results are now evident as the program's 2015 pass rate will be 94.78 percent. Board staff commend the director and faculty on this achievement!"
"This is a time of celebration, but we're going to maintain our stride and maintain that momentum to continue to meet the community needs for nursing and also have high pass rates," said Pullen.
Young said she's seen a difference in her students thanks to AC's revamped teaching methods. "They know that they're prepared," said Young. "They know that they're competent going into their nursing profession. They have an excitement and passion for the profession and that translates over into the community as well."