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Decrease in test scores lead to changes for MVCC nursing program

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Associate Dean for Nursing Pamela Fess at MVCC in Utica felt that the 2012 first-time passage rate for the national licensing exam to become an RN could be higher, that they needed to be higher.

"They decreased over 10% from 2011-2012, that was first time pass rates for RN state board results," says Fess.

Fess wasn't the only one monitoring the scores with a concerned eye. The worry trickled to Albany and the accrediting body for the program.

"Because of that decline in success rates for first time pass, they felt the need to come and review and evaluate and provide recommendations going forward," says Fess.

Some major initiatives came out of that meeting.

The school is doing something that would seem quite the opposite of what most college programs strive to do; they're decreasing enrollment into the nursing program by a full third, in in order to improve student/teacher ratios, especially in a clinical setting.

"We used to enroll 120 students into the nursing program and with full support of the college, our enrollment is going to be reduced to 80 students now," says Fess.

Also in store, another change the likes of which Fess has never seen at MVCC.

"For the first time in my memory, this entry class for 2013 is going to be taught 100% by full time faculty as opposed to adjunct," she said. "And that will maintain consistency throughout the curriculum and hence increase our student outcomes."

Fess says all the changes are aimed not only at achieving better test scores, but training competent, capable nurses who can do the job once they leave campus.

The changes go into effect this fall.

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