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More problems surface in FSU nursing program

Posted August 1, 2007
Updated January 28, 2009

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— A dozen nursing students met Wednesday with Fayetteville State University administrators to express their concerns about the program after many students failed a recent exam.

Forty-three of 46 rising juniors in FSU's nursing program failed a test administered by Health Education Systems Inc., or HESI, that was part of a summer school course that ended Tuesday. Some students said the test included material that wasn't covered in the course.

An FSU spokeswoman said the exam accounted for 15 percent of the grade in the course, so students could fail the test and still pass the course.

"I think there were some misunderstandings on how this test was going to be used, and we wanted to clarify that," said David Barlow, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, which oversees the nursing program.

Barlow said the exam was an assessment test to help instructors tailor courses to students' needs.

"One of the things we'll look at is taking the assessment exam to look at what the students' weaknesses and strengths are as individuals and develop an education plan to help them succeed," he said.

The meeting came weeks after 24 of 31 seniors in the school's two-year-old nursing program weren't allowed to graduate after failing an exit exam administered by Health Education Systems. Those students complained that the test wasn't part of their original graduation requirements, and they threatened to sue FSU.

The students were allowed to retake the test, and 13 of them received their degrees.

The problems with the nursing program were among those cited last month when Chancellor T.J. Bryan resigned.

Interim Chancellor Vic Hackley said he plans to review the nursing program. He said it needs time to develop, and administrators need to ensure that instructors are teaching material covered in the exams.

"Everything has to be directed toward what that HESI piece or the whole thing will assess -- the lectures, the course content, every quiz, every midterm," Hackley said.

Barlow said he believes the program's courses mesh with the tests.

"We put together an analysis of the course content and the subject matter that's on HESI, and we feel confident we're doing what we need to do," he said.


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  • Trooper Aug 2, 2007

    Why is it that the nurses I see in the hospital start out at 250 lbs. I think some played tackle or guards on a football team.

  • crow Aug 2, 2007

    I think most of you do not get what this story was about.

    When the nursing program began at FSU, they were not told they had to pass this exam to earn their degrees. That is why they threaten to sue. If they can’t pass this test should they be nurses? In my opinion, no. Can I complete 2 years of school and a month prior to graduation they tell me “OH by the way you don’t graduate if you didn’t pass this exam”...I don’t think it is fair, that should have been explained up front. If I understand correctly, they didn’t know they were not going to graduate until right before graduation! That is just wrong.

    FSU is a very diverse school and because the cost is one of the lowest in NC there are many students there that have high SAT scores. TJ Bryant had been working on bringing students in with higher academic qualifications then what had been done in the past.

    FSU just earned accreditation that puts them in company with UNC-C, Duke, NCSU. OH and FSU is a UNC system scho

  • Joshua Aug 2, 2007

    Good lord, I hope to never go to a hospital or need care from any of those 'nurses.' It's a shame that they may get a degree from threatening with a lawsuit. If you can't pass the test, you should NOT become a nurse!!

  • Your Reality Check Bounced Aug 2, 2007


    Assuming there are more than two students, I suppose that should be sows' ears.

    At least I've gotten to laugh at myself today.

  • Your Reality Check Bounced Aug 2, 2007

    This story bugged me, so I trotted off to FSU's site and checked their academic profile, which you can see for yourself here:


    The 2006 Freshman Profile lists 693 of 839 students with a SAT score below 1000. Of those same 839 students, 474 had a high school GPA between 2.01 and 3.00.

    Within their nursing department, the upper division pre-licensure track is a competitive program (http://www.uncfsu.edu/nursing/FAQs.htm). How competitive? Why, you need a C in your science classes and a GPA of 2.5. If that's considered "competitive" at FSU, I wonder what's considered "average"?

    Now tell me again why it's all the fault of the teaching staff there?

    Perhaps they should look at the sow's ears they've got taking up desk space before they blame the lack of silk purses on the tailors.

  • www.CaryYardSales.com Aug 2, 2007

    Humm, maybe we should ask our nurses where they graduated from? This story doesn't look good for the students or the school.

  • banmewral Aug 2, 2007

    The fact is this, these people are directly responsible for the care of others. If they fail to meet criteria, for what ever reason, either it be the schools fault for not administering the information, the students fault for not making the grade, the fact is, we are left with the possibility of having nursing staff that is lacking in competence of their field. If you fail at a test, it is highlights that there is something you don't know, but I do see how the students would be upset if the department did not cover the information.

    In reguards to dumbing down the information, or lowering our standards to fill the positions. I don't think any health care service should do such, even if it is for the cause of affirmative action, or to diversify the workforce. Hiring poor workers to have a diverse atmosphere is poor judgement.

  • christinathefern Aug 1, 2007

    would prepare or take these exams with the weight needed. Also, the "generic" BSN program at FSU is new. There are some kinks that are going to have to be worked out. The REAL story here, WRAL, is what is FSU's pass percentage with the state boards. If I am reading this story correctly, a total of 20 students graduated. They all should have taken their state boards. You can check with the board of nursing to see what their pass rate is. www.ncbon.com
    Quit being so quick to judge and quit making ill-informed comments. Have at least some idea of the subject matter before throwing stones.

  • christinathefern Aug 1, 2007

    The comments made here are very concerning to me. I graduated from Fayetteville State's ADN (associate degree) to BSN (baccalaureate degree) nursing program in 2005. I was immediately (like two weeks) accepted into Duke University's Master's Program for Nursing, as did two other of my classmates. The problem here is not the student's love of rap music or any of that stereotypical bull. Those students have to work hard to get into, let alone, stay in the nursing program. The curriculum is regulated by the state board of nursing (i.e. so many hours of pediatrics, so many hours of obstetrics, etc. etc.). However, it is ultimately the board of nursing's exam that determines whether or not a graduate of any nursing program is able to obtain their license to practice and begin to work as a nurse. These HESI exams are designed to assess where these students are at, and will actually tell the instructors where they are coming short. They "count" them in toward the grade, because no one

  • regularguy_nc-at-yahoo.com Aug 1, 2007

    If it was an "Assesment Test" then why in the hell doers it affect their grades? By calling it an Assesment Test and saying that you need to giove it to them to determine how and what to teach you are admitting that you have not taught them yet... so how in the hell can you grade them on a test that is only a bunch of questions for you? Maybe you should give them a test like that before you try to train them.