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Utah State University Eastern’s nursing accreditation takes place every eight years, with the Price campus in year two of its most recent accreditation. USU’s Travis Peterson was recently appointed as the head of USU’s new department of Nursing and Health Professions and plans are being developed to further expand the program throughout the state.
Peterson said the nursing faculty are working hard to ensure students in Price receive the highest quality education. He is optimistic about the programs being offered at USU Eastern and across the state.
The program’s accreditation, last reviewed in 2012, will continue through Spring 2020. At the time of the last review, the Accredited Commission for Education in Nursing had a few minor conditions to be addressed in a standard follow up report. The faculty worked hard and took multiple steps to ensure these conditions were fully met, and submitted the follow up report in October.
“Our accreditation is in good standing and we have quite a few things in the works for the future,” Peterson said.
A major focus has been placed on preparing students for the nursing NCLEX exam that is taken to become a licensed nurse at the end of the program. The exam was recently altered, resulting in lower pass rates nationally. USU’s nursing faculty worked hard to combat the falling pass rates and prepare students for the new exam with great success.
“The USU program’s pass rate has increased about 10 percent over the past several years,” Peterson said.
To achieve this improvement, USU Eastern faculty examined every aspect of the program and what needed to change. The required prerequisite courses were reorganized so students have all additional courses completed before they start the nursing program. This change allows students to take the NCLEX exam and become licensed as nurses as soon as they finish the program, instead of waiting six months or more to finish additional courses. The department is monitoring this change closely to ensure students feel ready when it is time to graduate and move on.
“We have made these changes to allow students to be more successful in the future,” said Sandy Nadelson, director of nursing programs for USU Eastern campuses in Price and Blanding, plus the USU Uintah Basin campus.
Nadelson appreciates the support the administration and community have shown the program.
She hopes that support continues in the future, as there are many opportunities for growth.
“This program provides great opportunities for students to learn and stay in the area,” she said.
Nadelson and Peterson agree that the program provides an invaluable opportunity for many students in the community who are not able, or do not want, to move away or travel long distances for their education.
“The majority of our nurses are fully employed after graduation and many stay in the area and work in the hospitals here and health care facilities,” Peterson said.
Information about the programs and applying can be found on nursing.usu.edu. The school currently offers both LPN and RN programs. All materials for the application are due by May 21, 2015 for next years nursing cohorts.