For the third year running, a website dedicated to careers in nursing has placed a local program among the top 10 in Ohio.
The registered nursing program at Northwest State Community College (NSCC) in Archbold was ranked eighth among the 30 nursing schools rated the best across the state in the 3rd Annual State RN Program Rankings by RegisteredNursing.org. The California-based website based its ranking of nursing programs in about a dozen states on the passing rates of students taking the National Council Licensure Examination (N-CLEX) to obtain a nursing license.
According to data gleaned from the State of Ohio Board of Nursing, NSCC had a 97 percent passing rate among the 68 students in the college’s registered nursing program that took the N-CLEX-RN last year. The rate was a two percent increase over the previous year, when 40 RN students took the exam.
RegisteredNursing.org rated the college’s program sixth in the state last year, but spokesperson Bryce Hall said that doesn’t mean the program has faltered.
“They didn’t necessarily do worse. Other schools might have just had banner years that year,” he said.
The N-CLEX has been used as the national exam for the licensing of U.S. nurses since 1982. The website reviews programs in schools that include associate, bachelor’s, and direct-entry master’s degrees in nursing.
To earn a RegisteredNursing.org ranking, a nursing program must be solidly in place for two years, be approved and accredited by its state board of nursing, and have at least 10 students taking the N-CLEX. The website’s spokesperson, Bryce Hall, said the rankings represent only data taken from state nursing boards and only the data of students taking the exam for the first time.
“We believe that’s the sole purpose of the training. They’re the most prepared, they’ve learned the most from the program,” he said.
By the time a student takes the N-CLEX more than once, different variables can creep in and skew the data, Hall said.
“We want to show consistency. We’re trying to take the variable out of the one-year outlier,” he said. “It’s a pure ranking, and not based off anything subjective.”
The data the website compiles reveals the consistency of those operating a particular nursing program, Hall said. It allows for an opportunity to find programs “that hit the needs of the students.”
Kathy Keister, NSCC Dean of Nursing, declined to comment.
Despite its relatively new service, college nursing programs RegisteredNursing.org has ranked are taking notice. “Because it’s objective, people are starting to listen to us more,” Hall said.
He said it’s frustraing to compete against rankings from large media conglomerates whose intentions can be less than noble. Often, Hall said, their data – which can include factors like tuition costs – has little, if anything, to do with objectivity.
“We want schools to be held accountable, so hopefully they hold themselves accountable,” he said. “We want to make sure they’re choosing the right people, keeping up to the standards, hiring good faculty. We’re simply putting it out there to be a sound, guiding force for students.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-330-1812.