The Lock Haven University Board of Trustees shined a spotlight on the university’s Clearfield campus nursing program during its recent quarterly meeting. Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Donna Wilson introduced Dr. Jennifer DellAntonio, the chair of the Department of Nursing at Clearfield, who gave a presentation on the various programs they offer.
“She has just accomplished an amazing amount,” Wilson said. “She is a person with a lot of energy, a lot of imagination. She’s very ambitious for the growth and development and success of the department and the programs. She is innovative and has just been a real energizer in moving many aspects of the program forward.”
DellAntonio thanked the trustees as well as credited her staff for the accomplishments in the program. “I have to say that my nursing faculty are amazing,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, their endless hours of work, the work that we do would not be successful.”
DellAntonio began her presentation explaining just how far the nursing program has come since it first began in the 1990s. Before Founders Hall was constructed on the Clearfield campus the program was located in two trailers, she said.
“It’s important to know where we were and where we are now,” she explained. “We’re just thrilled to be there.” She spoke about three major programs they offer, beginning with the Associate of Science in Nursing degree (ASN).
The ASN program is the oldest of its three programs with the first students having graduated in 1992, she said. “We have over one thousand graduates from our ASN program,” she continued.
The program is a two-year degree that serves a variety of people. “The two-year program is amazing. We serve the displaced factory worker, the single mom who needs to support her family, the mom or dad who wanted to come back to school after they raised their kids,” DellAntonio said. “Our program has served that population of students.”
As time went on, the school realized they needed the Registered Nursing (RN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, she said.
“Hospitals want an ASN prepared nurse so the ASN program gets our students on their feet very quickly to begin nursing,” she explained. “Then the ASN program supports them to continue” their education.
In 2009, the university began offering the ASN program online.
“It was designed specifically that way so our students can be learning while working full time, taking care of their family and taking classes in any capacity that works for them,” she said. “It’s been very successful and we graduated 350 students from that program.”
Another program they offer is a Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) to RN program, she said.
DellAntonio explained that the program has LPNs who want to “advance place” which means they want to get into the RN program but need to be employed quickly.
The nursing program has a system in place where they can come into the RN program in advance, she said.
“They could perhaps start in the second semester or the third and graduate earlier,” she said.
The program also offers an RN to BSN program as well, she said.
Both programs are accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and are re-evaluated every eight years, she said.
“A student cannot graduate from a nursing program that is not accredited and move on to advanced work,” she said. “That accreditation is extremely important and it’s an arduous task.”
The program also has seen a regularly high passage rate for the NCLEX exam, which students must take to become a licensed RN.
“We’re very proud and very successful with our NCLEX passage,” DellAntonio said. “Historically we’ve risen above the national average. Our program goal, and it’s the goal for all RN programs across the nation, is 80 percent.”
In 2018, the program saw an 89.13 percent success rate which was two percent high then the national average at 87.13 percent.
DellAntonio also spoke about the programs simulation center located on the fourth floor of Penns Highland Hospital in Clearfield.
“We’re really excited about our sim center. This is a really unique endeavor,” she said.
The university partnered with Penns Highland to create the simulation center that includes equipment, mannequins and access to the hospital’s electronic medical records (EMR).
“It’s a really unique environment because not only do the students practice on the simulation. They also have access to the EMR of actual patients in Clearfield Hospital,” she said. “It’s such a unique blend, they can go and meet their patient, they look at a real live chart, they look at a real live lab. It all comes together so the simulation faculty member can take that information and make simulations.”
The faculty has received very positive feedback from the students as well. “The students just rave about it,” she said. “They want to be in sim every semester.” DellAntonio stressed the importance of the partnerships the program has with hospitals such as Penns Highland, UPMC and Mount Nittany for students clinical hours.
“Our partnerships with our clinical sites are really our success for students,” she said. “They work collaboratively with us and they are the success of these students as well.” In the future, the program is looking to strengthen the partnerships between the hospitals as well as increase their program offerings and collaborate in an interprofessional discipline with other departments at Lock Haven University’s main campus, she said.
Source: lock haven
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