Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) largest Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) class graduated in 2018. These 34 students have successfully earned a 91% pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
All of these graduates are currently working as RN’s and continuing to advance their career through opportunities such as earning their Bachelors of Nursing (BSN) from various four-year institutions.
Graduates of PCC’s ADN program are employed throughout the region in North Carolina and Virginia, including Person Memorial Hospital (PMH), Duke University Health System, UNC Hospitals, Wake Med, Central Regional Hospital, Moses Cone, Sentara Halifax, and Danville Regional.
Wycliffe Maosa, a member of the Class of 2018 and current Central Regional Hospital (Butner) employee shared, “PCC helped me gain confidence and competence needed as a new graduate nurse. The training I received at PCC made me a stronger nurse, which helped me transition from academia to practice professionally by using practical and critical thinking skills I learned.”
Class of 2017 graduate Jessie Heath, ADN, CNII, commented “Now that I am well into my second year of nursing, I attribute my success to the foundation my nursing career was built on… the individualized counsel, motivation, and dedication of the faculty and staff [has] pushed me into the success and satisfaction I have in my nursing career. PCC’s ADN Program is the heartbeat behind the comprehensive care I provide each shift.” Heath is currently employed at Duke University Hospital in the Hematology Oncology department.
PCC leaders are also working to ensure that graduates have ample opportunities to continue their education by partnering with institutions such as Averett University and University of North Carolina – Greensboro (UNCG). These partnerships allow PCC graduates to experience a smooth transition as they transfer their credits using the 2+2 and articulation agreements, and often offer funding opportunities through scholarships.
UNCG currently offers courses on PCC’s Person County Campus for Registered Nurses (RN) interested in enrolling in their RN to BSN program. The first graduates of this curriculum proudly walked across the stage during a December graduation in Greensboro. Eleven of the 16 graduates previously completed the Associate Degree Nursing program at Piedmont Community College and were working full-time in various areas of nursing while enrolled in the four-year program. A new cohort will begin classes in Fall 2019.
To best prepare students for their NCLEX exam, PCC’s faculty has implemented several new strategies such as requiring NCLEX style practice questions throughout the curriculum and using exam software that resembles the testing style of the NCLEX.
This has improved the recent NCLEX pass rate from 65% in 2017 to 91% in 2018 (pass rate is based on first time test results). Despite this significant improvement the North Carolina Board of Nursing recently revised their approval process for nursing programs, thus placing PCC on a warning status. The ADN faculty and staff strive to provide continuous quality improvement with the expectation that this status will be returned to full approval in 2020.
In addition, to provide diversity training, students participate in multi-cultural activities and simulation experiences based on the differing demographics they may work with in the various employment settings they could experience in their career. PCC students are also required to complete service learning hours and do so by volunteering in Person and Caswell counties.
PCC’s Associate Degree Nursing students continue to experience success in part due to the agencies willing to provide clinical hours. “PCC students are being hired upon graduation, often at the sites in which they complete their clinical experiences,” shares Alisa Montgomery, Dean, Health Sciences and Human Services. “This is reflective of the quality and high standard PCC’s ADN graduates continue to exhibit.”
The College has partnered with numerous locations in order to provide a broad range of clinical work opportunities. Some of these locations include: Person Memorial Hospital, UNC Hospitals, Duke Regional, Central Regional, Caswell Health Department, Caswell Family Medical Center, Prospect Hill Health Center, Canterbury House, Cambridge Hills, Roxboro Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, and Brian Center.
Colleen Truax, MS, RN, Director of Inpatient Services at Person Memorial Hospital – A Duke Lifepoint Hospital noted, “I have had the great pleasure of having four new [PCC] graduates come to work for me at PMH. Three are on the medical-surgical floor and one in the ICU. They have been a great breath of fresh air and came with the clinical and educational background they needed to get a good start in a new facility. They care for our patients and our community and get compliments every day from the patients and their families.”
PCC students also have had the chance to work with Steven Strout, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, Director, Emergency Services and Emergency Management Coordinator at Person Memorial Hospital – A Duke Lifepoint Hospital. He comments, “The [PCC] students that have joined our team in recent years have had smooth transitions to professional nursing practice from the role of student nurse. These graduates have the strong foundation of nursing skills and knowledge that allows them to perform well in the fast pace and critical environment in the ED. These graduates provide a high level of compassionate and professional care that makes them valuable members of our team.”
Tracy Carroll, Nursing Director of UNC Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Unit shares, “PCC students and new graduates are some of the better prepared students and they have some very engaged instructors. We love having these students on our units.”
The students also believe the clinical experiences provide a helpful framework. “The clinical days were where I learned about time management and teamwork, which has been vital to my success,” said 2018 PCC graduate Nevelle Strickland, RN, CNI, Duke Regional Hospital. “PCC gives you the skills and the compassion to be the best nurse you want to be. All the instructors rock and the classes on concepts and the conversations about professionalism will forever be with me.”
Jessica Robertson, PCC graduate and 2015 Duke Friends of Nursing Award Recipient, recently noted that she experienced the many dimensions of nursing due to the diverse nursing experiences of the faculty. She also shared that the ability to build a relationship and connect with her instructors helped her achieve success.
Interested in learning more about PCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program? Contact Alisa Montgomery at Alisa.Montgomery@piedmontcc.edu or (336) 322-2213 or Director, Associate Degree Nursing Education/Instructor Dawn Oakley at Dawn.Oakley@piedmontcc.edu or (336) 322-2219 or visit www.piedmontcc.edu/hns.