DAYTON — The several hundred students who have graduated from Wright State University’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program since it began in 1998 passed the national certification test the first time they took it — all of them.
The 100 percent, first-time pass rate of the American Nurses Credentialing Center test is well above the national average. In fact, Kristine Scordo, director of the Wright State program, has been approached by other schools asking her for help in raising their pass rates.
“It’s a tough program,” said Scordo. “If you’re my student and I don’t feel safe with you taking care of me or my family, you don’t graduate. This is not a get-by program. People’s lives are in your hands.”
The master’s degree program at the Wright State University–Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health was started by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To be admitted, students must have their bachelor’s degrees and at least two years of full-time experience in critical care units such as emergency, trauma or intensive care. There are currently 65 to 70 students in the program.
Students are trained to work in emergency departments, intensive care units, specialty labs and clinics, acute care wards and in other hospital and medical settings. The students specialize in areas such as critical care, cardiology, pulmonary, neurology, renal and trauma. They diagnose health problems and can prescribe drugs and treatments.
“Nurse practitioners are prepared at a higher level of education in order to provide the care they are authorized to provide,” said Scordo.
For example, in addition to treating a man who just suffered a heart attack, nurse practitioners may also assess his children as a preventive measure. And their practice extends from the hospital to the home.
Highly regarded physicians and specialists lecture to the Wright State classes.
“The curriculum is very extensive,” said Scordo, adding that the students learn everything from trauma care to reimbursement to ethics of clinical practice.
When students pass the written, proctored, four-hour credentialing test administered by the ANCC (American Nurses Credential Center), they can become licensed to practice as an acute nurse practitioner. Graduates of the Wright State program are working in hospitals and cardiology and other specialized practices in Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Texas and other states.
“They are all employed and all had two to three job offers,” said Scordo.
The students call the Wright State program “tough love” and refer to its director as Mother Scordo.
Student Jennifer Shah of Cincinnati earned her bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Toledo and enrolled at Wright State because she heard about the quality of the program and the high pass rate.
“It’s tough and it almost makes you — honestly — crazy because it’s so hard,” she said. “But it’s going to be rewarding in the end.”
Shah, who currently works at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, wants to make a career in a hospital’s trauma unit.
Student Scott Long of Columbus, who received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University-Chillicothe, plans to work with the trauma and critical care team at Grant Medical Center in Columbus. His colleagues recommended he enroll in the Wright State program.
“There is a large amount of information we have to take in in a short amount of time,” said Long. “You’re going to go crazy at times, but you’re going to come out better prepared, ready to go into the workforce.”
The writer is the assistant director of public relations, communications and marketing for Wright State University. He can be reached at email@example.com.