According to the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN) the Mesa Community College (MCC) Nursing program is among the top nursing school programs in the state. The AZBN, along with the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLE) gave the MCC nursing program a rate of 93.68 percent, surpassing the University of Arizona. Among the several measures, the agency rates school nursing programs based on percentage of graduates who successfully pass the certification exam.
“I think it starts with a quality curriculum,” said the Nursing Department Chair Diane Dietz. “We developed a curriculum that speaks to what the mapping of the licensing examination.” The program strives to help every student learn and succeed. One example is the National Council of State Boards of Nursing posts information about the national licensing exam.
It’s like a blueprint to the areas nursing faculty members, like those at MCC, need to teach. Incorporating those lessons is essential to keep students up-to-date with current practices and the certification process. “We monitor students from the outcomes of the national examination that we administer after each block of study to get a sense to where the students are in terms of their probability of passing the licensing exam,” Dietz said. “We’re really rigorous on always monitoring outcomes and making changes as needed to meet our goals.”
Jessica Graham is a MCC nursing student about to graduate from the program. “I really like it here. The teachers are straightforward and nice,” Graham said. “One of my favorite simulation is the pregnancy mannequin.” Dietz explained that the MCC program also emphasises the importance of incorporating a quality education staff. The nursing faculty at MCC are not only registered nurses, but educators as well.
“Those who teach in the classroom has to have a masters degree with education as a concentration of their studies, they’re skilled nurses as well as educators. Yet one of the challenges the department is currently going through is the loss of faculty members. For the last five to eight years a number of instructors have retired almost every semester. “We have the challenge of bringing them (new faculty) on, nurturing and mentoring them to perform at the same high level, but in this transition it has been successful because we have a mentoring program,” Dietz said. “We have a very strong team and we’re very collaborative.”
The success is also attributed to the college’s facility. The HW 8 building located across from the Kirk Student Center, was once home to the Life Science program. The building was renovated in 2010 for the Nursing Department. Among the upgrades were re-designing space to create large lecture rooms, multiple labs designed as hospital rooms equipped with medical equipment, as well as rooms with patient mannequins that can be controlled by faculty to replicate real-life patient scenarios, like heart attacks and seizures. Paradise Valley Community College was the second highest ranked program, followed by Gateway Community College in third, Scottsdale Community College was ranked fourth and UA fifth.