May 8, 2019
May 8, 2019 Northland Community & Technical Colleges most robust program has been recognized as the ninth best program in the state of Minnesota. The practical nursing program was recently assigned this ranking by PracticalNursing.org which has been conducting objective, government data-based rankings for six years. Practicalnursing.orgs methodology uses the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) five-year pass rates from all accredited PN programs in each state across the country. The NCLEX-PN exam is used to ascertain skills proficiency and is the determining factor in licensure for graduating nursing students.
In the fall of 2016 Northland launched a new practical nursing curriculum and streamlined the program structure to 44 credits. This created a revised diploma program that is a prerequisite to Northlands registered nursing program. In addition, the curriculums focus is now concept based which has students going beyond simply memorizing facts to understanding the larger patterns and relationships that define patient care and patient illness.
This evolution has had a significant impact on NCLEX-PN first-time pass rates. While we have always had a respectable percentage of students passing the licensure exam, the new curriculum has really helped raise this rate above many of our peer institutions, states Practical Nursing Program Director, Dorinda Sorvig, We went from about 86% of our students passing the exam to over 92%. This impressive rate is far above the state and national average that is just over 85%.
Northland is also excelling at retaining and graduating nursing program students. The programs benchmark for retention is at 80%, explains Sorvig, We have been maintaining a retention rate of 90%. This fact was highlighted as particularly impressive in our recent accreditation report. In February of this year, the practical nursing program was granted accreditation from the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA), a national accrediting body for nursing programs. This initial accreditation is for a six-year term.
The interest in Northlands nursing program doesnt seem to be waning any time soon. We have accepted 40 students on our EGF campus, 15 on our TRF campus, and 15 in our distance/hybrid cohort for fall 2019 semester, affirms Sorvig, We have a 40 student capacity for each campus, each semester, as well as 30 for our distance/hybrid model. That results in 140 to 160 practical nursing students in our program at any given time.
The nursing profession remains in high demand. The demand is only expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age. Between now and 2026 Minnesota will need to add 12.3% additional practical nurses to meet anticipated demand according to Minnesota State CAREERwise Education (careerwise.minnstate.edu).