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Barton nursing program sees renewed success
Nursing program accepting applications
new slt BCC trustees
Barton Community College mascot Bart the Cougar poses for a photo in his nurse scrubs. The college nursing program has announced a secondary deadline and is accepting student applications for the 2-18-2019 academic year until March 1. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Meeting at a glance

Topics at Tuesday’s Barton Community College study session included:
• The January Financial Statement shows accounts receivables are up now that online students can pay for enrollment over the semester like other students. They must pay in full to get a transcript or enroll in another class. Students are sent bills and messages from the BartOnline team.
• The Gramm Leach Bliley Act (data security) was reviewed. The next audit will include questions about data security for the first time.
• The Spring Board Retreat will be March 8-9 at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth.
• A Tuition and Fees Review did not lead to a recommendation yet. It’s still too early to know what the Legislature will do or what valuations will be. If there is an increase, it should be decided by April and implemented in the summer and fall. Reducing the cost of out-of-state tuition rates last year had the desired effect of boosting out-of-state enrollment. Work on the budget has also begun.
• Dr. Kathy Kottas gave a Nursing Program Report.
• Board Self Evaluation is typically done in March but should be moved to later in the year now that trustee elections are in November instead of April. The Policy Manual should also reflect that board officers are now chosen in January, rather than July.

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.”