State withdraws approval status for Roxbury Community College nursing program

State withdraws approval status for Roxbury Community College nursing program

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing voted Wednesday to withdraw the approval status of Roxbury Community College’s nursing program due to the continued inability to address a range of deficiencies, Massachusetts Department of Public Health spokesperson Ann Scales told Boston 25 News.

The college has vowed to appeal the Board’s decision.

According to Scales, the deficiencies included stability in nursing academic leadership; failure to meet curriculum standards; not adequately preparing students to pass the national nursing exam at establish standard rates for the Associate Degree Program; not providing appropriate resources for meeting goals and outcomes of the programs; and an inadequate plan for quality improvement.

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“We are extremely disappointed at the decision reached by the [Board of Registration in Nursing], especially given the significant resources and work the College has dedicated to the continued improvement of our Nursing Program,” the college said in a statement.

Jordan Emily Smock, Director of Marketing and Communications for Roxbury Community College, said the college verbally learned of the Board’s decision on Wednesday and immediately notified members of the college community.

“We are awaiting further information from [the Board of Registration in Nursing], Smock said. “Once we have received [the Board of Registration in Nursing’s] written explanation, [Roxbury Community College] staff will meet with every student impacted by this decision. We will keep the community apprised of developments.”

The college said regardless of the Board’s decision, the nursing program is not closing. Nursing classes will continued to be offered during the upcoming fall semester.

According to  the Board, currently enrolled students who complete the program requirements by the end of the year will be able to take the national nursing exam. 60 students could be eligible.

Scales said the college is required by state regulation to make every reasonable effort to help enrolled students in transitioning to other Board-approved programs. Board staff will work with the college to facilitate the process.

The college said one-on-one advising sessions will be set-up for all students impacted by the Board’s decision.

“Our priority over the coming days is to address the needs and concerns of our current nursing students, as their academic success if of  paramount importance,” the college’s statement added. “We will also work with the [Board of Registration in Nursing] to identity all possible options that will allow our students to be successful in the field of nursing.”

Since 2016, Board staff has conducted four on-site surveys at the college’s nursing programs. The first survey was conducted in December of 2016 because the national nursing exam pass rates were less than eighty-percent.

Five program administrators have been appointed between January 2017 and present.

In February of 2017, the Board put the college’s nursing programs on ‘Approval with Warning’ status. The state notified all current and prosecutive students when the change in status was made.

Admissions have been frozen since November of 2018.

Board staff have worked closely with the college over the past three years.

Since March, the college has been providing monthly updates to the Board. The Board has considered the impact of withdrawing the college’s approval status on current and future students, public safety and the fairness and consistency of nursing programs across the state.

In addition to working with current nursing students, the college also wants to make sure the Board is aware of ‘significant progress’ made since 2016 when an improvement plan was implemented for the nursing program.

The highlighted improvements included $13 million in capital improvements to create a state-of-the-art learning environment; innovative, stackable curriculum to prepare qualified nursing professionals; and qualified and diverse faculty who are student-centered.

“We will use this decision as an opportunity to review the structure of our Nursing Program, to ensure that the program continues to meet the meets of the community, and the workforce demands of the City of Boston,” the college’s statement read. “We will always provide our Nursing Program, and all academic programs, with the resources needed for progress and improvements.”

Nursing programs must be approved by the Board for graduates to be able to take the national nursing exam.

The college can submit an application for approval of a nursing program at any time, but the process can take up to a year.