LBW nursing program switching to concept-based curriculum

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LBW Community College’s nursing program is one of many throughout the state to transition to a concept-based curriculum and changing admission requirements.

“Alabama Community College System Chancellor Dr. Mark Heinrich approved changes to the admission criteria and curriculum for all two-year nursing programs in the state,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.

The changes will begin at LBW in January 2017 and will enroll nursing students directly in the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program.

Previously, admission to LBW’s Associate Degree nursing program required that applicants complete the practical nursing program or have experience as a licensed practical nurse or paramedic, said Nancy Burnett, LBWCC nursing division chair. The change means that students meeting admission requirements may enroll directly into the ADN program. Students who complete the first three semesters of the ADN program will receive a Practical Nursing Certificate and will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN for licensure.

“At that point, students will have three choices in completing the nursing program,” said Burnett. “They can choose to continue in their studies toward an Associate Degree, work while completing the remaining two semesters, or sit out for two semesters and work before completing the last two semesters.”

Admissions criteria to the nursing program will require an 18 or higher on the ACT and a cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) of 2.5. For those who have college credits, the GPA of 2.5 will be based only on academic courses within the curriculum.

“The traditional nursing curriculum focused more heavily on content and facts, while concept-based curriculum focuses on general concepts and then applies this understanding to specifics,” explained Burnett. “It is designed to examine students’ prior experiences, facilitate a deeper understanding of content knowledge, and transfer knowledge and skills into clinical practice.”

The changes will also result in cost savings for students, she said.

“Books will be used throughout the curriculum, so these costs will decrease. Students will also have decreased fees due to fewer semesters.”