Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

What You Do Not Know About Nursing Schools

Did you know that your State Board of Nursing not only regulates nursing licenses but also nursing schools as well?

I have had the opportunity over the past several months to sit in on the Indiana State of Nursing and listen to their discussions about different schools. Before going on, let me tell you that your Board of Nursing is open to the public and I strongly encourage you, if you are able, to attend and watch this “eye-opening” experience.

It seems that several nursing schools opened to deal with the nursing shortage. Now, in order to operate a school and allow graduates to take the NCLEX exam, the program must be approved by the Board of Nursing. The Board actually goes out and makes site visits to ensure that the school is running properly. They have the duty to make sure that future nurses in the State are educated properly.

There were three things that I found to be very surprising. The first is that some schools are not approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) formerly National League of Nursing Accreditating Commission (NLNAC) and, therefore, graduates cannot be hired at major hospitals in my city of Indianapolis. If I worked on a degree and then could not be hired at a major hospital, I would be very upset.

In the second situation, one particular school charged a total of $50,000 for a person to get their degree yet they had only a slightly better than 50% NCLEX pass rate. If I were going to a school that had such a low pass rate but did not know that when I registered for classes, I would be pretty disappointed.

The third situation involves a school that is closing. The State Board was very concerned about what would happen to the people currently in the curriculum who would not be able to complete their education at that school. The Board wanted to make sure that there was a very clear plan, called “teach out,” so that students can matriculate (graduate) from another school without losing credits they have already earned from the closing school.

To be honest, sometimes I feel the Board can be harsh toward nurses but seeing the Board on the education side of nursing, I certainly am glad that the Board is there protecting the students and nursing education in my state.

If you know someone who wants to attend nursing school, please tell them to make sure that their school is approved by the accrediting organization, has a high pass rate on NCLEX and that the school is financially solvent in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, many future nurses do not know to ask these questions.

Here’s to our future nurses getting a great education!

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