Five Indiana nursing programs under fire

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It’s a great time to be a nursing student, with a looming shortage of registered nurses in Indiana and around the United States. That usually means multiple job offers, good pay and job security.

But nursing schools are not created equal. Some are top-notch, some are medium, and some are barely in the game.

Here’s the latest proof. Five nursing programs in Indiana, all run by for-profit institutions, are now on the hot seat after their students posted consistently low pass rates on state licensing exams during the past three years.

Students in those programs might start asking hard questions about what the institutions are doing to make them more prepared for the exams. And the state is doing the same thing.

The Indiana State Board of Nursing is putting the programs on notice and requesting “plans of correction.” That could lead to loss of accreditation, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The programs facing state scrutiny are:

•    Brightwood College (Indianapolis)
•    Brown Mackie (Fort Wayne)
•    Fortis College (Indianapolis)
•    MJS School of Nursing (Merrillville)
•    ITT Technical Institute (Indianapolis, Merrillville, Newburg and South Bend)

If a nursing program has a license exam pass rate below 80 percent for three consecutive years, the state requires the program to submit a one-year plan of correction.

If the program fails to meet the 80 percent threshold after one year on the plan of correction, the state may move to place the program on conditional accreditation, and “without evidence of further improvement, could initiate withdrawal of accreditation for the program,” the higher education commission said in a March 10 press release.

Last year, the state shut down Indiana Dabney University’s nursing program, a for-profit in Hammond, which had a four-year pass rate of 21 percent. The move threw 80 nursing students there in limbo.

The commission also released data from the Indiana State Board of Nursing on average pass rates for students in associate-degree registered nursing (RN) programs between 2012 and 2015.

The figures show that the average pass rate during those four years was 87.8 percent for the public sector, 83.3 percent for the non-for-profit sector, and 58.4 percent for the for-profit sector.

The commission pointed out that even though the for-profit sector had the lowest pass rate, some for-profit programs scored well. Harrison College posted a pass rate of 95 percent.

Want to see all the data? You can find it right here, broken down by school, campus and sector.

Also, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency has extensive information about nursing education and licensing requirements online here.

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