Nursing Programs Maintain Top Licensing Passage Rate
RichmondCC Trustees Also Get Updates on Enrollment, COVID Funding at Board Meeting
Oct. 7, 2021 - Richmond Community College’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to keep its current officers in place for another year, while also getting a report on licensure exam passage rates for nursing students, fall semester enrollment and COVID emergency funding.
Claudia Robinette will remain as chair of the board, Dean Nichols will remain as vice chair, and Dr. Dale McInnis will remain as secretary.
Dean of Allied Health & Human Services Janet Sims expressed her pride in the last four years of Practical Nursing graduates who have had 100 percent passing rates on the state licensing exam. She also explained some solutions for retention issues for nursing students in their second semester.
“That’s where we lose most of our students,” Sims said. “That’s when it gets really hard and when they’re beginning to lose some of their financial stability.”
Sims is working with the College’s Financial Aid director to find new avenues for financial support for nursing students. The College also hired additional instructors for the Practical Nursing program and another adjunct instructor to work specifically with nursing students in the second semester.
As for the Associate Degree Nursing program, it has experienced a slight dip in the licensure passage rate, but at 89 percent, the pass rate is still in the top tier across the state. Sims said retention is also an issue for second-year Associate Degree Nursing students.
“If students are going to leave our program because of non-progression, we always ask them what could we have done differently. Just about every student says, ‘I wish I had more time with instructors,’” Sims said.
In response to this feedback, the College has instituted more faculty engagement and availability for these second-year nursing students. The College has also stretched several of its nursing classes from eight-week classes into 16-week classes.
“This means they have longer to absorb the material before a test, and this seems to be having a very positive result,” Sims said.
Sims also provided for the Board quotes from the hospitals where RichmondCC nursing graduates are working. FirstHealth described them as “the most prepared,” while Scotland Memorial Hospital said they seem “more prepared for emergencies.”
Fall Semester Enrollment
Dr. Dale McInnis, president of RichmondCC, provided the Board with a snapshot of enrollment for fall semester. The College experienced a decline in enrollment across all of its programs last year due to the pandemic, but the drop in the number of students taking classes has stabilized.
“We’re down about 1 percent in headcount over the total for last fall,” he said, “but we are still registering students for curriculum programs, basic skills and continuing education classes.”
McInnis said reports from other community colleges across North Carolina are mixed, with some reporting increases and others decreases in overall enrollment. McInnis remains optimistic about this coming spring semester and the next academic year.
“I think the fears over the pandemic and being back in school have waned. As those situations continue to improve, I think we’ll see our enrollment begin to pick back up, especially with the dual enrollment students from the high schools,” McInnis said. “We’re probably another year away from seeing us get back to where we were in 2018-19.”
Federal Emergency Funding Distribution
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Brent Barbee gave a report to the Board of Trustees on the latest distribution of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to students in the total amount of $1,422,674.
“Once again, exceptional need was taken into account, and a list was generated that contained all currently enrolled, as of Sept. 20, 2021, non-high school curriculum students,” Barbee said. “Every student who was not an early college or a high school student should have received a check if they were currently enrolled at the time.”
The methodology for figuring the amount of funds a student would receive was calculated based on his or her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the number of hours enrolled. As required by the federal government, the methodology is posted on the College’s website at www.richmondcc.edu/emergencyfinancialaidgrants.
The next disbursement of emergency relief funds will be in December.