The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Nursing program overhauls admissions

Due to City College nursing program changes, some students are re-evaluating their majors. Photo by || Tony Wallin || [email protected]

The City College Nursing department will be changing its enrollment process for its Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program starting Spring 2012.

In the past, students were only required to pass their nursing prerequisite courses with a “C” grade or higher before submitting their nursing program applications, which qualified applicants into an eligible applicant pool according to the Nursing Department website.

The new process involves a point system where nine criteria determine admittance into the City College nursing program. Eligibility points for admission include, previous academic degrees, relevant health care certifications, science courses GPA, prerequisite courses GPA, life experiences, veteran status, proficiency in languages other than English, and Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) test overall score and reading section score according to the Nursing Department website.

Dale Cohen, dean of the Nursing Department and Nursing Program Director, said she believes that the new system, which started development in 2009 acknowledges a students’ hard work before starting a nursing career and create graduates with a higher level of competency for the job.

“We try to raise the bar,” Cohen said. “You have to have the compassion, the care to work with really sick people.”

The long process of changing an admissions program was initiated by Assembly Bill 1559 proposed by Sen. Tom Berryhill, (R-Oakdale) in 2007, which addressed the nursing shortage in California and sought to ensure that community college nursing students are adequately prepared for the workforce, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office website.

The new 100 point system, which has most of its points weighing on the TEAs test score and GPA—a maximum of 42.5 and 30 points, respectively—requires 67 points for an applicant to be eligible for the random selection process.

“It’s all different when you look at it in those terms [grades]. Do you want the right [medications] 70 percent of the time or 100 percent?” Cohen said.

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“I think it’s fair because the major points are controlled by your grades,” Norwood said.

The greater emphasis on academic performance, Cohen said, is expected to raise the competition for the 30 spaces in the program.

Cohen said there were usually about 1,000 applicants under the former enrollment system, and while the number has dropped for the spring 2012 semester, she was impressed with the approximate 600 applicants who had enough points to qualify for the lottery.

Cohen said she believes that the new system will bring out the best of prospective City College Nursing students, who have consistently passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses with a rate of over 92 percent since 2006, according to the California Board of Registered Nursing.

For 24 year-old Paolo Mercado, who changed his major to nursing two years ago, struggling to get into prerequisite classes has lead him to come up with a back-up plan if a career in nursing doesn’t pan out.

“I was thinking of changing my major or double majoring in physical therapy so I don’t have to wait to get in [the program.],” Mercado said.

According to Cohen, the process of changing the nursing criteria is has motivated the department to revise the criteria for admittance to the LVN program due to the changing job demand for vocational nurses.

“It’s all subject to change. We took a conservative beginning to see where we are,” Cohen said.

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