FAMU nursing students voice concerns about their program

FAMU School of Nursing Welcomes. Photo by Dy’Min Cannon

Florida A&M University’s School of Nursing is one of the oldest continuing baccalaureate programs in the United States at a historically black institution. The four-year program leads to a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

According to FAMU officials, in April of 2018, the FAMU School of Nursing was put on probation. The probation period included a two-year span where the program was allowed to enhance its National Council Licensure Examination pass rate outcomes.

When the School of Nursing was renewed in 2018, the licensure pass rates were low and the school was put on conditional approval, leaving some students confused.  Now, current nursing students fear that their time spent in the School of Nursing will be wasted.

Second-semester nursing student, Jarnae Combs is concerned about the school’s official standing.

“As a nursing student, thinking about our accreditation at times can be very nerve-wracking. Often, I have to think about what if FAMU loses accreditation. The thought of potentially losing my nursing school credits is terrifying because I do not want my hard work or time to go to waste. However, I do believe that FAMU will be able to keep our accreditation as long as nursing students continue to improve test scores,” she said.

Another student who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, shared their feelings about the changes.

“Being a nursing student is tough and I feel like we don’t get the help we need and deserve. The program is very unorganized, and it is starting to affect the students. Due to the passing scores being low it is a reflection of administration and professors. The curriculum needs to be reviewed and revised to improve in the program,” they said.

A first-semester nursing student from Jacksonville, Ky’Mora Bryant, has faith in the next class of nursing students.

“Many different stories and rumors are going around about the school’s accreditation. I don’t like to follow up with rumors. However, I make sure to stay informed about our school’s status of accreditation. I am rooting for the next class to pass their exit exams and NCLEX with flying colors,” she said.

Interim dean of the School of Nursing Mary Ella Graham said the program is not on probation.

“The state has us listed as an accredited program and we are not on probation. There is a national faculty shortage within the nursing programs. We had a search last week to find qualified staff to fulfill the positions we have open,” she said. “Now, you have to be accredited by the state, and then you have voluntary accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

“When we were renewed in 2018, our licensure pass rates were low, and they placed us on conditional approval. Now, I am in the process of writing up a follow-up report that’s due to ACEN by March 15, 2020. That report will be reviewed by the commission and they will decide our accreditation status. ACEN has demonstrated that this program is making progress,” she said.

In September, the commission will review the follow-up report written by the interim dean to determine the current status of the program.