May 29, 2024

ATI helps SWCC nursing students pass boards

Last year's nursing students had a 97% boards pass rate.

Southwestern Community College’s nursing program is utilizing Assessment Technology Institute (ATI) to prepare their students for the National Council Licensure Examination, also called boards.

This program, used by about 70% of nursing programs in the U.S., provides numerous resources for students, including videos, patient charts and tests. SWCC Nursing Chair Maureen Weever explained the program uses these resources to help with grading.

“If [students] spend the appropriate amount of time: they do the pre-test, the post-test, they go back and review, then they get points,” Weaver said in a presentation to the SWCC Board of Trustees. “Those points go towards their final points in their grade.”

Not only are there sections for the various parts of nursing, but there are also modules made to teach different classroom skills.

“The ‘achieve’ module goes through some different classroom skills: studying, how to prepare for class, some of those things that not all of our students are coming in with that baseline knowledge,” nursing instructor and success coach Katie White said.

In general, ATI’s various modules work together to show students what they need to work on to pass their boards.

“It also gives the students an estimation of their likelihood of passing boards as they progress through it, so they can see their improvement,” White said. “Then when they get to the end of it, they know what areas they’ll need to focus on for when they study for boards, so that’s lovely as well. We use it as our predictor for LPNs going into the RNs.”

Weaver said the nursing program at SWCC has been using ATI for six years, and while they’re still exploring all the features available, students have seen success.

“Last year, our board pass rate for RNs was 97% and it was 97% for LPNs too,” Weaver said. “We had a student that graduated last year stop in this afternoon to visit and that student said this was the best thing ever for boards.”

With the success rate of SWCC nursing students, the program is staying full. The LPN program for 2024/25 is full with a waiting list, while the RN program will depend on how many LPN students decide to continue on.

“Usually the LPNs that are finishing now lead into our RNs. Some will decide not to. The wages are so good right now for LPNs, we’re seeing some not come back,” Weaver said. According to an assessment of recent graduates, the average starting wage for LPNs is $27 per hour.

In other SWCC news…

The board accepted C&J Conservation’s bid to complete the new CDL training range. The school received 14 bids, C&J Conservation’s bid being the lowest at $708,323. The original budgeted amount for this project was $869,849.

For the building side of the new CDL training space, SWCC is working with Denovo Construction out of West Des Moines. Denovo will be working on designs, specifications, and estimating the cost of the project.

Dr. John Franklin was officially appointed vice president of instruction at SWCC. Franklin has been serving as the interim VP since last May. Prior to that, Franklin served as the assistant VP since July 2020. Franklin holds a BA in English, an MA in history and a PhD in philosophy.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.