Albany State University Nursing Department Chair Cathy Williams said the Georgia Board of Nursing recently granted full approval to the university’s nursing program.
ALBANY -- The Georgia Board of Nursing has granted full approval to Albany State University's nursing program through 2015.
Annual reviews and approval from the agency means the university's nursing education standards meet state regulations in training students to deliver safe and effective care to patients.
"Full approval means that we're providing a quality experience for health providers," ASU Nursing Department Chair Cathy Williams said. "I'm very proud of our students and faculty."
According to a news release from the university, there are three classifications for approval: full, provisional and conditional.
Albany State is the only historically black university in the state with a nursing program. According to the school, there are 300 students enrolled in the pre-nursing program and 150 undergraduate students and on track to become registered nurses through the school's BSN program.
The Georgia Board of Nursing requires that 80 percent of students in the program must pass to maintain a license without sanctions each year. ASU exceeded that mandate with a 100 percent pass rate in 2011.
Several years ago, low pass rates on NCLEX-RN tests threw the department's accreditation in doubt. William attributes the program's revival to hard work and dedication.
"Our faculty is very active and involved in their work, in fact all of them also continue to practice," Williams said. "We also implemented Kaplan and ATI (testing consultants) to ensure our students are successful when they take the boards."
The university's 100 percent pass rate in 2011 was helped because just 12 students took the NCLEX-RN boards. Williams said they are working to lift the number of students taking the test.
"We have gone to spring and fall enrollments for admission to the program, Williams said. "We think that will increase the number of applicants to the program and as a result, have more students taking the boards."
ASU President Everette Freeman was pleased with the program's progress.
"This approval is evidence of the stellar work that our nursing faculty and students continually do," Freeman said. "Our nursing program is among the best in the state."
The State Board requires a school's program undergo annual reviews, then every fourth year the board conducts a two- to three-day campus visit. The assessment includes a review of the curriculum and course objectives of the generic Bachelor of Science, the accelerated second degree B.S. and the Registered Nurse to the B.S. programs.
Interviews were conducted with faculty, staff and nurse leaders at hospitals were students engage in clinical training. Class loads and and space allocation were also reviewed. In addition student retention, attrition and graduation rates are also examined.
"We're always preparing for this extensive review," Williams said.