I just find the news; anyone affected by this? http://wvgazette.com/News/201011171224
Some nursing programs at Mountain State University cannot accept new students for 15 months and must correct several other problems or risk losing their accreditation.
Laura S. Rhodes, executive director of the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, wrote last week that Mountain State has failed to maintain at least an 80 percent passing rate on the licensure exam for first-time registered nursing candidates.
Rhodes said in the Nov. 12 letter to Nancey<CO> France, dean of Mountain State's School of Nursing, that the sanctions apply to the school's nursing programs that lead to the licensure of RNs.
MSU is a private nonprofit university based in Beckley that also has campuses in Martinsburg and Orlando, Fla.
Rhodes' letter, on behalf of the nursing board, notes several other problems, including Mountain State's failure to determine student enrollment based on the clinical and teaching facilities available or by the school's number of nursing faculty.
The letter says the School of Nursing continues to suffer from a lack of "strong nursing administrative leadership," and school officials failed to maintain student records or adequately communicate with students on matters such as financial assistance, graduation reports and transfer credits.
"I'm very disappointed to read the letter," said Angela Gilkerson, an MSU nursing student who teaches fourth grade in Meadow Bridge in Fayette County.
She and other classmates told the Sunday Gazette-Mail in September that Mountain State officials had been tight-lipped about rumored accreditation problems. That left them wondering whether to leave the Beckley program, transfer or stick it out.
In July, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission denied MSU's "continuing accreditation" for a bachelor's of science in nursing. Mountain State retains accreditation status with a warning until the appeal is resolved, according to the commission's website.
Gilkerson's program is geared toward non-traditional students who have already earned one bachelor's degree. She and her classmates expect to graduate in October 2011.
Now, she worries about being allowed to sit for her board examination, a must to become a registered nurse.
"If we can't [sit], it's all been a waste," Gilkerson said. "It's just imperative that Mountain State does what it needs to do so our class can graduate."
In a phone interview, Rhodes said that MSU's registered nursing programs are on provisional accreditation status, meaning students can sit for their board examinations if the status doesn't change.
Vicki King, a classmate of Gilkerson's, hopes that Mountain State officials recognize the severity of the situation.
"It's in their hands," she said. "If we can't depend on the school that we pay an exorbitant amount of money to do their job, then what other recourse do we have?"
Rhodes' letter notes that the MSU School of Nursing failed to meet national accreditation standards, and the board now requires the school to obtain full accreditation by a national accrediting agency approved by both the U.S. Department of Education and the nursing board.
Also, the board of nursing wants Mountain State to maintain its current number of full-time faculty and staff to help correct deficiencies and show evidence that the dean or her designee evaluates every single faculty member.
Among other requests, the nursing board wants details about all students enrolled in programs that lead to a registered nursing license, and about their progression through the program.
Jon Reed, vice president of legal affairs for Mountain State, said university officials were aware that the nursing board was looking at a number of issues, but did not expect them to reach a decision on the same day they met, Nov. 12.
Before that meeting, Mountain State already corrected several of the issues that the nursing board raised, Reed said.
"Many of the issues that they seem to be looking into we have corrected without any sort of direction from the board," he said.
Reed said Mountain State officials need some clarification on other points the nursing board raised, which he described as vague. He would not go into detail about which points were vague because "we're still reviewing them."
Reed said that Mountain State would work with the nursing board on "big picture" issues the board feels are important to MSU's nursing program.
"I would note that the meeting last Friday was not an adversarial meeting of any sort," he said. "We intend to work cooperatively with them to resolve each of those issues [that remain]."
He believes Mountain State's nursing program serves a vital role for students in Southern West Virginia.
"It's an important program for our university, but it's even more important, I believe, to the state," he said.