Nursing curriculum to change in fall

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Specialist gives tips for getting into the competitive program.

By Mandi Flores

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The nursing curriculum for students in the generic track will change this fall, moving from a medical-based curriculum to a concept-based one, Debbie Patton, student success program coordinator, said.

This college’s competitive nursing program has three curriculums: generic, career mobility and military.

The generic program will still be a two-year program but will change from an eight-week curriculum to a 16-week one, she said.

One hundred students will still be accepted each semester, Patton said.

Students who started this semester on the eight-week curriculum will continue and the scheduling will be phased out, Patton said.

As of fall 2014, the nursing program will have a total of 675 students.

This is a drop from the 1,049 total from a year and a half ago, Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education, said.

The nursing department was unable to maintain that growth so they are moving to a more manageable number, she said.

“Good things are in store for the nursing program,” Walker said. “They will be hiring three more nurses in the fall and hope to hire some more this semester.”

The concept-based curriculum is an easier way to learn, Professor Christine Kuoni said.

“If they learn a big concept, they can apply it to any disease process whether we actually teach that one or not. So as they run in their future, if they are working somewhere that has a disease process they have not encountered, they apply the principles and they will be able to understand it,” Kuoni said.

The new curriculum was developed by the Texas Concept-Based Curriculum Consortium and is part of a national movement to make curriculum even and enhance transfer to other institutions, Kuoni said.

The consortium is made up of nursing instructors and professors.

The generic track is geared toward students with no experience. Students who complete the program receive an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.

Students are encouraged to complete the 28 semester hours of nursing prerequisites before applying to the program.

These courses consist of English, biology, psychology, chemistry and philosophy.

The career mobility path is for students who already have certification as a licensed vocational nurse and want to become a registered nurse, Patton said.

An RN has more responsibility and usually supervises LVNs.

The military option is for members who have been trained by the military within the past 10 years, usually corpsmen and medics who have not been certified, Patton said.

A student coming in from the military will be credited with 10 semester hours for their training and will still need to complete 30 hours.

One of the most important things to do to get accepted into the programs is to pass science courses the first time, Patton said.

When applying to the program, the student must already have completed 16 semester hours of biology and chemistry.

Acceptance is based on a system of five to seven points.

Students score one to four points for their GPA in the 28 required nursing hours, an extra two points for having completed the 28 hours before applying, and one point if science classes are not retaken.

The only exception to this is dropping and receiving a W, which does not affect the student’s chances.

This program is considered a “Capital A, small B program,” Patton said.

This means students’ grades are important to getting into the program and A’s are more important than B’s, she said.

“Students with a composite score of five never make it into the program,” Patton explained.

Most students who get into the program will have a seven depending on how many applied, she said.

Patton holds an information session for interested students at 1 p.m. Wednesdays in Room 208 of the nursing complex.

For more information, call Patton at 210-486-1165.

Neven Jones contributed to this story.

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