• 61°

College taking timeout with nursing program

Riverland Community College is taking a timeout with it’s Associate’s Degree and Nursing Program (ADN) in 2016.



Riverland could layoff six teachers — four tenured and two with non-renewable contracts — since the ADN program has not been meeting the standards set by the Board of Nursing, which has jurisdiction over all nursing programs in the state, according to Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Mary Davenport.

“We’re at the point where we really need to see some change,” she said.

The teachers received layoff notices Nov. 1.

The standard is that at least 75 percent of students who take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEXRN) should pass on the first try.

The average pass rate for Riverland has been 72.6 percent from 2011 to 2014. Davenport said administrators have been making changes in the curriculum so the program matches today’s health field, but they will take 2016 off to look at the delivery model.

“I think that’s what we want to do is look closely at our delivery model and identify … where are the gaps between what [students] need to know and what they’ve learned, and how do we make sure we close those gaps,” Davenport said.

“We’re expecting that our pass rates will improve,” she added.

The ADN program will not accept students for the 2016 year, but students who are currently enrolled will not be effected.

“The students that are in our current ADN program, we have a graduating class of 2015 and 2016, so nothing effects them,” Davenport said.

The break only effects the ADN program, which uses the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education, or MANE, curriculum, to get students ready to take the Registered Nurse Licensure Exam. It will not affect the Practical Nurse or Nursing Assistant programs.

“The layoffs are related to that [exam percentage], because if we don’t see improvements we need to kind of take a timeout and retool, and we want to be sure that we have flexibility in our staffing,” Davenport said.

She explained depending on how many students sign up for other classes, and if there is no change to the percentage rate, they may not need all six teaching staff next year. The teachers may have a chance to return when administrators reassess the curriculum, and could receive severance packages.

Davenport said the key is to make sure students are ready for the workforce, and that Riverland’s programs get them ready.

“We’re wanting to really work closely with our students so that they know what their options are, so we have advisors and counselors available to work with them,” she said.

They are looking into ways to continue giving students a way to get an RN certification, through transferring to other schools after getting general credits and other options. She said the break is just to reassess the current program.

“It allows for us to re-look at the delivery of the MANE curriculum, that we’re delivering that curriculum in the way it’s intended to be delivered,” she added. “And it’s a good curriculum, it’s just that we’re in this transition phase so we want to ensure our students success at the end of that.”