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Competition heats up for acceptance into impacted nursing program

Peggy Rowberg, director of the School of Nursing, discusses the competitiveness of the impacted nursing program. Photo courtesy of Peggy Rowberg.

Peggy Rowberg, director of the School of Nursing, discusses the competitiveness of the impacted nursing program. Photo courtesy of Peggy Rowberg.


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Since the spring of 2012, the minimum score required to get into the nursing program at Chico State has increased, making the competition that much more rigid.

Only 40 students get accepted into the competitive nursing program each semester, said Peggy Rowberg, director of the School of Nursing.

Alana Putnam, junior pre-nursing major, is in the process of preparing for acceptance into the nursing program.

“There is pressure to get A’s in our classes, which goes along with any student applying into a competitive program,” she said.

Putnam is not alone in her desire to get accepted as other pre-nursing students compete for a spot in the program.

“Nationwide last year, over 75,000 qualified applicants did not get into nursing programs,” Rowberg said. “Most nursing programs across the country are impacted.”

Not only are nursing programs impacted, but there is no guarantee that when a student applies, they will be admitted.

The Test of Essential Academic Skills is national exam based on pre-nursing prerequisite courses, Rowberg said.

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Alana Putnam, junior pre-nursing major, is currently applying for the nursing program. Photo courtesy of Alana Putnam.

The T.E.A.S. test is written by a company called A.T.I which writes testing modules for the national licensing exam known as NCLEX. All pre-nursing students must pass the NCLEX to be admitted into any nursing program in the nation.

Students applying into the program know they need to have 89 points or higher out of the 100 point system required to get into Chico State’s nursing program, Rowberg said.

There is between 800 and 1,000 pre-nursing students on campus, not counting those students trying to transfer in, that make the application process more competitive, she said.

Kalyn Finch, senior nursing major, has been accepted into the nursing program and feels a sense of relief to have earned a spot, she said.

However, it still doesn’t take away from the hard work and competitiveness she’s still facing.

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Kalyn Finch, senior nursing major, is currently studying in the nursing program at Chico State. Photo courtesy of Kalyn Finch.

“The program is one of the best around and you will feel that being a part of it,” Finch said. “We go to clinicals where we spend hands-on time in hospitals and acute cares.”

Along with hands-on hospital experience where students go through simulation labs of situations they may not experience daily, they also have lectures and skills labs on campus, she said.

Besides the firsthand experience, there is also a large amount of time devoted to homework and studying for exams.

“On average, I would say I study 10 to 12 hours on homework. The week before a test, my studying increases probably three times as much as a normal week,” Finch said.

The number of students trying to get into the nursing program make one-on-one advising sessions difficult. The School of Nursing sets up group advising sessions throughout the semester in which up to 40 students can attend without making an appointment.

Pre-nursing and nursing students have found these group advising sessions to be helpful.

“The pre-nursing adviser has been extremely helpful to me,” Putnam said. “She’s been a great resource for any help that I’ve needed in the application process.”

This opinion is shared by Finch, who loves the fact that the program set up these sessions.

“Our advisers know what we as nursing students are going through, and it’s nice to have someone who can understand our struggles, triumphs and concerns,” Finch said.

Sabrina Salvatore can be reached at [email protected] or @ssalvatore09 on Twitter.

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Competition heats up for acceptance into impacted nursing program