A report on how Barton Community College instills “Work Preparedness” in students shows only 44 percent of last year’s nursing students passed the state exam on the first attempt. Acting Vice President Elaine Simmons presented a mostly positive report to college trustees on Tuesday, but acknowledged the “elephant in the room.”
“I know you don’t like that number, but we’re going to get rid of that number,” Simmons told the trustees. She noted that Barton’s Nursing Associate Degree Program was recently awarded full accreditation through 2022 by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Simmons also told trustees “strategies were put together” to address the low pass rate.
Dr. Kathy Kottas, Barton’s director of Nursing and Healthcare Education, said her department worked with the accrediting officials, who were aware of the numbers. This year’s students are already scoring 10 to 15 percent higher on exams that last year’s students, she added.
The report showed 27 BCC students attempted to earn Nursing RN certification for the first time in the 2015-2016 academic year, and 12 passed — 44.44 percent. The national average was 81.68 percent.
College officials note that the annual report only shows how many students pass the exam the first time they take it; students often go on to take the exams again with more success.
BCC’s Nursing RN first-time pass rates for recent years were:
• 88 percent 2009-2010
• 64.5 percent 2010-2011
• 85 percent 2011-2012
• 57.69 percent 2012-2013
• 72.5 percent 2013-2014
• 76 percent 2014-2015
The report notes that a new passing standard for RN was implemented in 2013.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman commented on the low success rate in 2016.
“It did raise eyebrows,” Heilman said. “I believe this was a glitch.”
Not all bad news
Other departments where students took state tests fared better. Overall, for health-care licenses, 261 students attempted first-time exams in 2015-2016, and 203 passed — an overall rating of 78 percent.
The first-time pass rates (and national averages if available) included:
• Practical Nursing Certificate - 87.5 percent (83.73)
• Certified Nurse Aide - 92 percent
• Certified Medical Aide - 100 percent
• Medical Laboratory Tech - 71 percent (81)
• EMT - 66 percent (71)
• AEMT - 86 percent (57)
• Paramedic - 71 percent (76)
• Dietary Manager - 64 percent (71)
• Pharmacy Technician - 60 percent (57)
• Medical Assistant - 88 percent (74)
College trustees heard this report when they met Tuesday. Each month the board hears a report on one of Barton’s eight over-arching goals, known as ENDs. The “Work Preparedness” END deals primarily with ensuring students are fully capable to handle the demands of their chosen careers once employed.
BCC Director of Public Relations Brandon Steinert explained that success is measurable by three indicators: “Students will have the skills and knowledge required for successful entry into the workplace. Students will have the work ethics, discipline, and collaborative skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Students will have the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain, advance, or change their employment or occupation.”
The report shows 729 BCC students completed career programs in the summer of 2015, fall of 2015 and spring of 2106. These included students earning degrees or certificates in dozens of programs, from automotive to welding. For 13 trades and technology programs there were 127 first-time test attempts and 110 passed for an 87 percent success rate. This included 100 percent in Early Childhood (CDA); Emergency Medical Service instructor/coordinator; EMS training officer I and EMS training officer II.
The report also shows more than 95 percent of area employers who responded to a survey rated Barton graduates as good or excellent in: satisfaction with work and performance of employee; preparation of employee and qualification of employee.
In fact, Barton graduates often make good Barton employees, administrators said. The report noted that 216 Barton employees — about 26 percent of the full- and part-time faculty and staff — have completed credentials or degrees from the college. Two of those employees, Barton Registrar Lori Crowther and Senior Coordinator of Enterprise Technology Orlando Hernandez, offered testimonials to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.
“When I need to hire someone, I love to look at Barton grads,” Crowther said. “I know Barton prepares our students for the workplace, from their communication skills and decision making to initiative. I’ve had a good career here and I love working for the college.”
For more information online, visit trustees.bartonccc.edu.