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Barton nursing program sees renewed success

Nursing program accepting applications

POSTED February 13, 2018 7:36 p.m.

The 2015-2016 academic year was a turning point for the nursing program at Barton Community College. Gary Burke recalls being a fairly new college trustee the year a report showed only 44 percent that year’s nursing students passed the state exam on the first attempt. Dr. Kathy Kottas, Barton’s executive director of Nursing and Healthcare Education, said she wasn’t happy with the pass rates either.

But on Tuesday, Kottas was able to tell the BCC Board of Trustees how her program responded.
“We sat down and developed a fairly healthy list of strategies,” she said. Her staff worked with consultants and a specialist with the State Board of Nursing.
They looked internally and externally, focusing on remediation for students if needed and training for staff.

With changes in place, Barton’s nursing program was recently fully re-accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, which requires a minimum pass rate of 80 percent at the Registered Nurse (RN) level.
Barton Community College Licensed Practical Nurse graduates had a 100 percent pass rate in 2017 on the National Council Licensure Examination and the RN graduates had an 88.89 percent pass rate, Kottas said.

“We were very excited about that but we want to keep it going,” she said. The main challenges are: recruiting qualified applicants who will be ready to be successful; recruiting and maintaining qualified faculty; and maintaining innovations in the classrooms.
“Keeping up-to-date is going to be critical,” Kottas said.

Accepting applications
Kottas and Barton Vice President Elaine Simmons talked about one change in the quest to find the best students for the nursing program. In the past, the cutoff for applying to enter a program was in January. This year, the nursing program has announced a secondary deadline of March 1 for students wanting to enter the program this fall.
Those who applied during the first round of applications will receive priority status but additional applicants from the secondary deadline will fill seats as available for both the Practical Nursing Certificate and the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing.
“Congratulations,” Burke said of the successful turnaround. “You’re doing a great job.”


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