Local News

FSU students left hanging by nursing program suspension

Posted May 12, 2009 3:46 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2009 7:14 p.m. EDT

— Fayetteville State University's decision Monday to suspend its bachelor's degree program in nursing has left some students in limbo.

The 4-year-old program has been plagued by students performing poorly on state nursing exams and has been on probation for the past two years.

Forty-six percent of FSU students passed the state licensing exam in the past two years, far below the 83 percent pass rate required by the state Board of Nursing during a two-year period.

Chancellor James Anderson said Monday he wouldn't allow any new students to enroll in the program until administrators could overhaul it. Of current nursing students, only rising seniors will be allowed to complete their degree.

"I was angry. I was disappointed. I was sad," said one sophomore nursing student, who asked not to be identified. "We worked hard, and we really looked forward. A lot of us are coming into this program knowing that this is what we want."

Vice Chancellor Thomas Conway said the program began too big and too fast, which left little time for faculty development and caused friction among instructors.

"We probably brought in about twice as many students in each class as we should have admitted," Conway said. “When people are in conflict, when they’re under pressure, they tend not to communicate well."

Some students thrived in the FSU program, he said, but it would be unfair to continue enrolling students in an underperforming program.

"If you look at the caliber of students that we have turned out, they have been some great students that have graduated from Fayetteville State. Those students are doing great work in the nursing profession," he said.

Anderson met Tuesday with nursing instructors to answer questions about the program's suspension.

FSU will continue offering a two-year program for registered nurses to earn bachelor's degrees, but it remains unclear what will happen to the faculty in the four-year program.

Students said they, likewise, were left hanging by the program's suspension.

"You're right at this point, and now the door closes," the sophomore nursing student said. "I have to rethink everything."

Conway said the university would assist students transferring to other nursing programs.