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PCC Nursing is improving quality and showing positive results

17 March 2016

The Pratt Community College Nursing department is dedicated and moving in the right direction to gain national accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). To achieve this accreditation, PCC is continuing to work on student test scores and NCLEX testing. The nursing on-campus facilities have also made some improvements which is giving students hands-on experience in real life situations.

One vast improvement the nursing department has implemented is a tight and concise curriculum that offers student’s maximum learning in the classroom and hands-on training in clinicals as well as mentoring from the Nursing Faculty. From Fall 2014 to Fall 2015, test scores improved from a 74.7 percent average for the entire class to 81.3 percent. These results are based from eight tests throughout each semester and one final exam. Kay Watkins, Director of Nursing, said that since last year the program has made major changes to the curriculum and testing schedule.

“We found gaps in the old curriculum where students would learn a mountain of information and be tested on it much later,” said Watkins. “Now we spread our testing out so they can focus on one area at a time. The new curriculum allows students to retain information and learn better overall.”

On a national scale, PCC is required by the ACEN to have pass rates at or above the National Average with a 2-3 proficiency rate to apply for re-accreditation. The preferred rate is at or above 85 percent. PCC is actively collecting data from test scores that will help in the application process when the time comes. On the state level, the ADN program has conditional approval approved by the Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) and will have another site visit in the Fall of 2017. Watkins says the students and faculty are working very hard this year and she is impressed with what they have achieved so far.

“We have a smaller group of students this year but the quality of the program and caliber of the student is remarkable,” said Watkins.

Students are also benefiting from upgrades in the simulation lab on PCC’s campus. Pratt Regional Medical Center (PRMC) and Hutchinson Regional Medical Center donated much needed hospital beds, patient room tables, monitoring devises and more. Because of their generosity, Watkins nominated both for the Kansas Board of Regents Partners Appreciation Award. PRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer Jack Kennedy was presented with the award Mar. 9 in the PCC Nursing simulation lab. Watkins said she is proud to be able to present this award to PRMC.

“I am always looking for opportunities to help nurses in our community,” said Kennedy. “I’m happy to see what PCC is doing with this equipment.”

(Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, VP of Instruction, Jack Kennedy, Kay Watkins, Frank Stahl, Coordinator Special Admissions Programs)

Watkins and Kennedy toured the simulation lab fully equipped with six working manikins that help to train students in a hands-on setting.

“We are able to train nursing students in a more realistic scenario. The simulator makes sounds, speaks and communicates feeling. These situations help the students to respond to a patient in real time, making decisions on the spot that could be lifesaving,” said Watkins. “The dolls also give students the chance to practice technique such as taking blood, setting up an IV, and CPR. The dolls are also a positive stimulant when it comes to making mistakes in a controlled setting which builds confidence.”

Students are continuing to test and gain experience utilizing the simulation lab. In the coming month, they will have two OB simulations with the manikin named “Noel” who is able to mimic labor and child birth. Students will spend eight hours testing in the classroom and testing in the patient room with “Noel” and an infant manikin.

The Nursing program is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2016 class. For more information about becoming a nursing student at PCC, you can submit an interest form online to learn all of the details about the program and how to apply.  Nursing applications are due by Apr. 1.