Wesleyan nursing program fails to meet required test passage rate

(The Record Delta) The West Virginia Wesleyan College School of Nursing has been given only provisional accreditation for the next school year by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.

The provisional status is based on the school of nursing graduate’s test scores on the national licensing exam known as the NCLEX, which graduates must take to become a registered nurse.

In choosing to put Wesleyan’s School of Nursing on provisional status, the board looked at test scores for the past three years, according to executive director Laura Rhodes. 

The school of nursing did not meet the 80 percent passage rate required, Rhodes said.

Dr. Larry Parsons, dean of West Virginia Wesleyan College, said that provisional status is something that other colleges in the state have been placed on and WVWC has received provisional status before as well.

“Every school in this state has gotten provisional status at some time,” he said. Most recently, the School of Nursing at Wesleyan was on provisional status when outgoing president William Haden retired and current president Dr. Pamela Balch came on board, according to Parsons.

It was Balch who restarted the nursing program, Parsons said.

Since that time, small class sizes have meant that if two or three people do not pass out of a group of 15 or 20 students, that affects the passage rate, according to Parsons.

“We’ve had small classes,” he said.

This year, Wesleyan will graduate 25 in the nursing program but the year before that there were 15 students and the prior year had 10 students, according to Parsons.

Parsons also said the nursing board does not look at the second time that students take the test, unlike many other disciplines.

The School of Nursing was not surprised it would be placed on provisional status based on the scores over the last three years, according to Parsons.

Wesleyan’s School of Nursing is also taking steps to improve its passage rate and was required to submit an improvement plan to the state board.

Rhodes said, “The board approved the plan and Wesleyan will be responsible for implementing that plan and identifying whether it needs to be modified.”

That plan includes hiring an outside company to work with students online, according to Parsons. The company will provide a mentor to each student through the Web-based program and students will complete practice tests online.

“They have to reach that barrier or they will not be able to take the NCLEX,” he said.

Parsons said the School of Nursing did not know if it would be on provisional accreditation status for one year or two years.

“That’s in the state board’s hands,” he said.

Rhodes said test results will be reviewed next March.

“The board looks at a calendar year of results,” she said. “That would be a board decision to look at all the information about this decision.”

The Bluefield Campus of Bluefield State College, the LPN-RN program under Kanawha Valley C&T College and the WVUIT campus under West Virginia University have also been placed on provisional status.

In February, the state board also revoked its accreditation for Mountain State University.