February 19, 2018 - A national nonprofit nursing advocacy group has ranked Panola College in the top 10 nursing programs in Texas. Panola’s Associate Degree Nursing program, ranked #10, is ahead of UT Medical Branch, UT Austin, Texas Tech, UT Tyler, and Texas Christian University, among others.
RegisteredNursing.org analyzed 114 state nursing programs at universities and community colleges. Fifty programs were ranked based on the NCLEX-RN exam pass rate. The NCLEX-RN exam is used by all state boards in the United States to assess students’ competency. Students must pass the exam upon completion of their nursing course work in order to obtain a license. RegisteredNursing.org looked at the past five years of data, averaging the scores together. The scores were weighted, so that a pass rate in 2015 counts higher than a score from 2012.
Panola’s nursing program has seen steady growth since its inception in the fall semester of 1995. Students choose from two academic tracks. The first is a traditional 24-month program with summers off. A second option is the LVN to RN Hybrid Transition track that allows Licensed Vocational Nurses a flexible format to complete the registered nursing curriculum in 12 months. This track offers online courses and weekend and evening clinicals within a 70-mile radius of Carthage.
When the courses are completed, nursing graduates take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed registered nurses in Texas and other states in the 25-state Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact.
“It takes a special person to become a nurse,” said Annissa Jackson, chair of the ADN and VN programs at Panola College. “The course work in nursing is not easy. Prerequisites for the program include anatomy and physiology, and biology courses. Once admitted into the program, nursing students take leveled nursing courses that are structured in a concept-based curriculum to promote critical thinking in an ever-changing healthcare environment.”
In 2017, Panola College ADN students achieved a pass rate of 98.15%, up from 94.12% in 2016. The school also has a 100% placement rate for nursing graduates in Spring 2017, according to Jackson. “We encourage our students to continue study toward advanced degrees, and we are working to help them in that area by creating articulation agreements with universities that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing,” Jackson added.
Currently, Panola has articulation agreements with the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of Houston in Victoria, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Midwestern University, and Chamberlain University in Illinois. The nursing department is working to add more options through articulation agreements with other universities in the future.
“Panola College is extremely pleased with the consistently high NCLEX pass rate of our Associate Degree Nursing students,” said Dr. Greg Powell, President. “Registered Nurses are in high demand, and we are excited that students can study, learn, and train in our national award-winning, state-of-the-art Health and Natural Sciences Building that opened in 2015.”
The complete rankings are available at www.registerednursing.org/state/texas/#rankings