Nurse education expansion creates failing programs
Rafiul Alam Nursing dean candidate focuses on research funding Nursing dean candidate Jean Leuner talks during an interview Monday afternoon in the Business Building. Leuner, a professor from the University of Central Florida, talked about how she plans to face challenges from different issues as the dean of the College of Nursing. (The Shorthorn: Rafiul Alam) Courtesy: duq.edu Anne Bavier Anne Bavier, former dean for the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, is a candidate for the college of nursing dean position. Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:15 am | Updated: 11:16 am, Wed Feb 12, 2014. The search committee will meet Wednesday to look over their assessments and feedback from the nursing staff, faculty and students on each candidate, Dunn said. It was a good search, Dunn said. Im glad that we have good applicants who speak highly of the campus. Each candidate visited the campus for a two-day interview where they were able to present their ideas, experiences and goals for the College of Nursing. The first candidate that visited campus was Chandice Covington, Rush University professor and chairwoman. Covington focused her presentation on how to teach nursing practice to the students and on faculty and staff development and support. Lisa Plowfield, Penn State professor and the second candidate, spoke about the challenges of nursing education today and being a lifetime learner and also addressed faculty support. The third candidate, Jean Leuner, former founding dean at the University of Central Florida, focused on the current issues affecting nursing education, including encouraging higher training to produce more well-rounded nurses and maintaining high-quality nursing as faculty members. The fourth and final candidate was Anne Bavier, former University of Connecticut dean. Bavier was not able to have an open forum presentation because of inclement weather Thursday during her campus visit. Bavier did continue her second day of interviews for the faculty and staff when school opened Friday, said Dunn. Once the recommendations are delivered to the president and provost, Dunn said she is not sure how long the process will take before they select a single candidate. One of the recurring issues brought up during each presentation by faculty was the possible collaboration between the College of Nursing and the Department of Kinesiology. Both the nursing and kinesiology faculty and staff are concerned with the potential merger, and asked the candidates questions including how kinesiology would fit into nursing, similarities between the two subjects and experience the candidates had with merging departments. Nursing freshman Aisha Ojha said she hopes the new dean will present more opportunities for the nursing students to further their education. I would like her to give more scholarships, and help students make it into nursing school, Ojha said.
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Through September, five graduates of the training school have taken the state nursing test to be a certified nursing assistant. None of the graduates passed. Several other schools that are currently on probation declined to comment for this story. Grimsley, who is also a certified nurse, said that the fact that these schools are on probation means the system is working: There are always going to be bad players, and the probation aspect gives us an ability to weed out those bad players. State law requires nursing schools to have passing rates close to the 89 percent national average. The state Board of Nursing places programs on probation if the schools average examination scores fall 10 percent below the national average for two consecutive calendar years. The laws passed in 2009 and 2010 made it easier for a program to get off probation; it previously took two years of acceptable test passage rates, but now one year is enough. Advocates of the changes claim the board of nursing was saddled by bureaucracy as more nurses were needed and took too long to approve applications for new programs. The Board of Nursing wasnt keeping up with the applications to the degree that the nursing shortage needed to be addressed, said Mark Anderson, a consultant and lobbyist. His clients include Education Management Corp., which operates nursing schools in its South University locations in Tampa and Royal Palm Beach. Last year a former recruiting manager at Education Management Corporation filed a federal whistle-blower suit alleging the company, along with South University, routinely misled students about tuition costs and future job prospects. The suit specified alleged fabrications about the accreditation level of South Universitys nursing program. The company has denied the allegations. Since 2009, the pass rate for graduates in Florida on the national test for nurses has dropped from 88 to 85 percent as the national average passage rate has increased from 88 to 91 percent Everyone is aware of that, said Martha DeCastro, vice president of the Florida Hospital Association. Its clearly an issue that needs to be addressed, and I think it will be in the next session. Some believe the drop in test scores is due to a watered-down nursing education system in Florida that is not preparing students for their jobs. The premise behind the legislation was that if a program was successful, it will survive and that everyone has the right to offer all types of programs, said Mary Lou Brunell, head of the Florida Center for Nursing, which was created by the Legislature in 2001 to analyze the states alleged nursing shortage.
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