Raising the Roof, and our Test Scores

By:
Makala Coleman, communication alumna and freelance writer

Nursing students from Southwestern Adventist University are continuing to gain a significantly positive reputation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Because of this, the program is bursting at the seams.  You’ve probably heard by now about the campaign for the new nursing building. But have you heard why the program is growing so quickly? 

New scholastic and community initiatives have been implemented in the Southwestern Nursing Department.  As a result, Southwestern students are ranked as some of the most well prepared nurses in the nation.  Nursing graduates across the United Sates are given a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to determine if a new nurse is safe to begin practice at an entry level.  The ability for nursing students to pass this exam on the first attempt is a marker of an institution’s quality. 

In 2016, the National NCLEX average pass rate across the nation was 84%. Southwestern Adventist University outperforms most nursing schools with a pass rate of 97%.  Within the State of Texas, there are 113 Schools of Nursing.  Southwestern Adventist University ranks in the top 10% at number 10 out of 113. 

“In the United States now, medical errors ranks number three for cause of deaths,” says Dr. Sallieann B. Hoffer, Chair of Nursing. “That’s scary.  We have to work together as faculty to change those statistics and make our students as safe as possible by the time they leave us.” 

Nursing students are now offered extensive NCLEX test preparation.  Kaplan, an exam preparation company, offers a live four-day review on campus.  In addition, each nursing student receives Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) exam preparation software.  This software provides practice exams and simulations.  Since implementing these tools, Southwestern has seen a 20% increase in NCLEX test scores.

In the classroom, students are encouraged to actively participate in learning. They focus on evidence-based projects, applicable to professional work after graduation.  Professors often team-teach class to provide more expertise on a subject. The majority of Southwestern Nursing Faculty members are educated at the doctorate level with a wide variety of specialties. 

“What makes Southwestern so unique is that our professors not only have outstanding credentials, but they are guided by Christian standards and possess a heart to serve others,” says Hoffer. “The nursing professors give so tirelessly in order to ensure the students success.”

Several new faculty members recently joined the Southwestern Nursing Department.  Fay Foreman arrived in August.  She is a neo-natal nurse practitioner with a master of science in nursing.  Hoffer joined the nursing faculty in January. In addition, Dr. Terri Gibson joined the faculty last year and is now leading students in a new community initiative called Wellness Counts.

“Wellness Counts is a partnership with Texas Health Huguley Hospital, the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Southwestern Nursing Department to address community needs,” says Gibson. “It’s one thing to learn about your health, but it matters that you make changes so you can be healthier and stay out of the hospital.”

In addition to Wellness Counts, Southwestern nursing students are incredibly involved in the community.  In the last year, they offered a clinic at the Keene Business Expo, volunteered with Meals-on-Wheels, gave a bone-marrow drive, went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, and more.  “We are super proud of our students and faculty for holding the bar high,” says Gibson.

From the NCLEX to community outreach, Southwestern nursing students are taught to be caring and professional nurses.  The new nursing facility will enable Southwestern to attract students who desire to attend a school where state-of-the-art equipment is used that simulates real-life situations in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics where they will work.  Nursing students already account for a quarter of the University’s total enrollment and the major continues to be one of the top draws for local Johnson County students. 

With all of this growth in the department, the urgent need for the new Nursing and Administration Building increases.  Nursing department classes are spread out between four buildings but space is still cramped.  The new building will provide space for growth and the latest in technology. Southwestern students and staff have been witness to one miracle after another as University alumni and friends allowed God to answer prayers for this project through them.  In a three week span, a total of $4.2 million in gifts came in for the new building.  What a testimony of God’s power for our students! 

As of this printing, $9.7M has been donated, with another $4M given in pledges!  Administration anticipates this amount will cover all the construction, architectural costs and other fees.  Funding is still needed to cover the furnishings and equipment.  It is anticipated that construction of the new building will commence Spring 2017 and the grand opening of the new building will take place prior to the beginning of the 2018 fall semester.  As the new building begins to rise up out of the ground, it is a testament to God’s providence, and the commitment of hundreds of donors to Southwestern Adventist University, and its students.

 “I am overwhelmed by the response. We are so grateful to our alumni and friends for the response to this project,” says Dr. Ken Shaw, University president. “We have seen Him work miracles and bless this project.”

To learn more about the new building and how you can support the project, visit www.swau.edu/givecampaign.

 

Discover more about the Nursing Department!