1 STANDARD 6 - Outcomes Evaluation of student learning demonstrates that graduates have achieved identified competencies consistent with the institutional mission and professional standards and that the outcomes of the nursing education unit have been achieved. Compliance: This standard is 100% met for the baccalaureate program. CRITERIA: 6.1 This standard is 100% met for the master s program. 6.1 (Baccalaureate) The systematic plan for evaluation emphasizes the ongoing assessment and evaluation of the student learning and program outcomes of the nursing education unit and NLNAC standards. 6.1 (Master s) Program assessment is ongoing and findings demonstrate the achievement of the student learning and program outcomes of the nursing education unit and NLNAC standards.) The Albany State University Nursing Department s Master Plan of Evaluation (MPE) is a systematic plan for program review. The Nursing faculty members believe evaluation is a continuous and ongoing process that is needed to promote the educational effectiveness of the overall program. The process of evaluation is based upon the philosophical beliefs regarding the role of the baccalaureate and masters degree nurse, nursing, and nursing education in meeting the needs of patients in the health care practice setting. Program evaluation has been performed on an annual basis, each fall, and over the years, has consistently addressed the degree to which the student learning outcomes are met, and the degree to which the nursing program achieves NLNAC standards and criteria. The evaluation also addresses the degree to which the data from the evaluation is used to revise the curriculum when indicated. The ASU Office for Institutional Research, Planning and Outreach has played a pivotal role in facilitating nursing program evaluation by providing trended data relative to student profiles. The Chair of the Department of Nursing meets frequently with faculty to discuss the level to which the program outcomes of the Department had been achieved and enhancements needed. Nursing faculty provide program evaluation data, and proposed changes to address evaluation findings, on program evaluation reports. These reports are submitted to the Program Coordinators and Chair who then compile annual evaluation reports ( through 2012 Evaluations available on site). After revision of the department philosophy and program outcomes, and after review of the new NLNAC standards for both the baccalaureate and masters AACN essentials along with the IOM standards, the program evaluation plan was reviewed by faculty in fall, 2010 and spring, The Master Plan of Evaluation was revised, then, to assure that all relevant data was being collected and analyzed. Faculty involvement in the development and revision of the MPE is evident in nursing faculty governance and curriculum committee minutes. Student representation on nursing committees has been encouraged, but there is minimal participation. However, student evaluations related to program elements are used
2 throughout the MPE process to assure student input is included. The original plan was used to evaluate the , and , , school years. The revised/current plan was used to evaluate the and years. The program s current evaluation plan follows the NLNAC Standards and Criteria (2008) outlined for baccalaureate and master s degree programs. The current Master plan requires total faculty involvement for implementation. The plan format contains the evaluation criterion for both the baccalaureate and masters programs, with clear operational definitions, and expected levels of achievement. The plan also indicates the components of the criteria, where data is located that addresses each component, the responsible evaluators, frequency of assessment, assessment methods, and an area for report of findings and action planning (Appendix 6.1 Master Plan of Program Evaluation). The Master Plan of Program Evaluation reflects the University s strategic plan and mission, and the Nursing program mission, philosophy, conceptual framework, competencies, and outcomes. The evaluation plan has been systematically updated in regards to format and content in response to NLNAC requirements, University institutional effectiveness and planning needs, structure or policy revisions of University, College, or the Nursing Program, and other relevant changes as deemed appropriate by the nursing faculty. Operational definitions are revised as needed and expected levels of achievement are updated based on faculty s expectations, perceptions of goal achievability and reasonable standards of achievement subject to University, State board, and accrediting agency standards, as well as national norms. 6.2 Aggregated evaluation findings inform program decision making and are used to maintain or improve student learning outcomes. Data are collected, aggregated, trended, and analyzed. Evaluation finding are used for decision making for program Strategies are taken or will be taken to address the area(s) identified as needing improvement. Compliance: This standard is 100% met for the baccalaureate program. This standard is 100% met for the master s program. The data used in this evaluation process can be found in the Program Evaluation documents for each year. Data for each criterion are collected, aggregated, trended, and analyzed. Data are noted to determine the degree to which the expected levels of achievement for criterion outcomes are met. Implementation of the Master Plan of Evaluation (MPE) is completed for most criteria on an annual basis, for some on a biannual basis, and for criteria like the philosophy and university mission, every three years or when a significant change occurs. Evaluation findings are used to make curriculum and program modifications, to refine admission and progression policies, to maintain practices and policies that are positively impacting student learning outcome achievement, and ultimately, to improve the student learning process. Multiple strategies have been implemented over the years to address evaluation findings, particularly those areas needing improvement. Examples of decision making that is based on the evaluation findings include the following:
3 Standard 1: The Mission and Administrative Capacity Criterion 1.2 the expected level of achievement indicated that 25% of nursing students would be involved in university committees, for which they were eligible. Evaluation of data in found that student were active in the ASU s nursing club and the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS) chapter, there was minimal (less than 5%) representation of nursing majors on university committees. As a result of these findings, the nursing and GANS officers were asked to make recommendations to the university student government association (SGA) for Nursing students who could serve in open positions. Over the years ( , through ) this trend of low involvement of students in university committees has continued, and as a result of this finding, faculty have agreed to connect student participation in nursing program and university governance to the professionalism objectives within courses in the curriculum. The results of this change will be evaluated in future ( ) MPE implementation. Standard 4: Curriculum Criterion 4.3 (Baccalaureate) the student learning outcomes are used to organize the curriculum, guide the delivery of instruction, direct learning activities, and evaluate student progress Data used to revise curriculum organization or course content The evaluations revealed sophomore students were challenged with the intense combination of courses (pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and adult health nursing) in the second semester where 19 of 38 (50%) of the students failed one or more courses. As a result of this data, faculty realigned the curriculum to move health assessment to the first semester of the sophomore year. Subsequent evaluations revealed continued challenges and as a result, additional curriculum changes were made which included moving the Pharmacology course to the first semester ( ). o Criterion 13 ( Program Evaluation Document) student performance on the Pearson s exams on pediatric and maternal-child content revealed that students had low scores on the neonatal content area. The faculty from the Pediatric and Maternal- Newborn courses met to review their course content and as a result increased the neonatal content being introduced and developed in these courses. o As a result of student input (from Ga Board of Nursing interviews, April 2011) which indicated that taking science courses with nursing courses was difficult, the faculty changed the admissions policy and required that all sciences must be completed prior to entering the nursing program (effective fall, 2011). o As a result of a suggestion by the education consultant for the Georgia Board of Nursing (2011 visit), faculty reviewed nursing curriculum across the country and found that Nutrition was seldom taught as an individual course in Nursing programs. As a result of this data, faculty decided that Nutrition would no longer be required as an individual course and the concepts were instead integrated throughout the nursing curriculum (see minutes - May, 16, 2011). o Many additional changes in curriculum were made after program review and a major faculty retreat (Minutes May, 16, 2011). Evaluation of the impact of these changes is ongoing and will continue to serve as a basis for program improvements. Criterion 4.3 (Master s degree) o o As a result of a changes in National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties NONPF criteria (2008) the faculty revised program and course objectives, but found that content was consistent with the NONPF criteria. In response to the preceptor input that students needed improvement in diagnosis and treatment, as well as dictation, and data from program review for currency, as well as
4 state mandates for mid-levels and use of technology, faculty voted to purchase Epocrates, electronic medical records documentation, and Wimba Dictations and integrated this software into each course to strengthen students in these areas (see Program Evaluations and 10-11). Review of the Master Plan of Evaluation (Standard MPE) revealed that the plan was not collecting data needed to address the new NLNAC standards (2008) fully. Most notably, the earlier NLNAC standards addressed curriculum delivery as a part of the evaluation of general program review. In the 2008 NLNAC standards, many specific criterion addressed online or distance courses. The MPE was revised to reflet these more specific standards and the need to disaggregate the data from the overall course delivery evaluation. Other updates were made in the MPE to better align with NLNAC 2008 standards in all other areas, and to facilitate use of the MPE document for data collection, analysis and suggestions for improvement. Additional evidence of data analysis and the use of the MPE for continuous quality improvement can be found documented in program evaluations (Appendix 6.1) in policy revisions in the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committee Minutes, Nursing Faculty Governance Committee Minutes, and throughout specific course meeting minutes or faculty notes for each course. The ASU College of Sciences & Health Professions, Department of Nursing Master Plan of Evaluation process includes all of the elements required in this criterion. 6.3 Evaluation findings are shared with communities of interest. Compliance: This standard is 100% met for the baccalaureate program. This standard is 100% met for the master s program. Communities of interest include the College and University students, faculty and staff, the local and regional health care facilities and workforce, as well as the state approval and regional and national accreditation agencies. Findings from the MPE are shared with university and college communities through the academic program review reports, accreditation reports and regular meetings of the curriculum and new program committees at the college and university levels when curriculum changes are indicated as a result of evaluation findings. Advisory board members, who include representatives from the university, ASU alumni, and the community at large, are updated on the critical nursing evaluation findings during annual meetings and through periodic newsletters. In addition, Dr. Williams, Department Chair and Dr. Johnson, Dean, are members of the Advisory Board for Darton College, a local two year college from which some students articulate. Several other stakeholders attend these meetings as well. Findings from the evaluation of the ASU nursing program are shared with stakeholders at these board meetings as well. Input from these communities of interest are considered when revisions to plans for program enhancement and improvement are made by Faculty and Department of Nursing.
5 Baccalaureate degree program 6.4 Graduates demonstrate achievement of competencies appropriate to role preparation. Compliance: This standard is 100% met for the baccalaureate program. Data related to graduate achievement of program competencies is found in the end of course and end program examinations, graduate surveys, and employee surveys (Available on site). The end of course exams are used for all clinical courses, as well as for the Leadership course. These exams test the basic concepts and critical thinking related to application of these concepts to patient care situations. Students must pass the end course exams within two attempts in order to pass the course. The end program exam is a comprehensive standardized examination, currently the ATI exit exam, which must be passed by all students for successful completion of the program. The graduates of the program must have passed the exam at the level that would indicate a 95% chance of passing the NCLEX exam. Students have two attempts to complete this requirement. This comprehensive exam tests knowledge and critical thinking competencies from across the curriculum. One hundred percent of graduates will have demonstrated program competencies tested by this standardized examination. In addition to end of program testing, data from students and employers are used to determine if students have achieved competencies appropriate to role preparation. The past six years of graduate surveys reveal most respondents rating the program as 3 (average), 4 (above average) or 5 (excellent) on all categories of the survey. While the return rate for surveys has remained low despite efforts to encourage feedback from graduates and employees, the data has been beneficial from those surveys that were received. Additional efforts taken for data collection included use of social media, phone interviews, and solicitation of information. Survey findings indicate that majority of graduates rank their preparation for the role they will assume after graduation as above average (4) to excellent (5). Survey of graduates one or more years after graduation (cohorts from 2006 and ) revealed very positive responses to questions related to preparation for practice. For example, graduates from each year responded that the program prepared them for practice with a level of 4 or 5 (above average to excellence) reported by most of those responding (92.3%, n=13). Data from surveys, though limited, will be used to solicit additional information from current students and continue efforts to obtain information from graduates regarding beneficial and least beneficial aspects of the program. Employer survey data revealed that the respondents (n=4) reported the program prepared graduates for practice at a level of 4 or 5 (above average to excellent level). Of those employers of the 2011 graduates, (n=3), % report employees demonstrated performance criteria most of the time to always, including use of professional standards, collaboration, and demonstration of professional behaviors.
6 Baccalaureate degree program 6.5 The program demonstrates evidence of achievement in meeting the following program outcomes: Performance on licensure exam Program completion Program satisfaction Professional/Job placement The licensure exam pass rates will be at or above the national mean and the 4-year average for licensure pass rates will remain at 80% or higher Baccalaureate degree --Performance on Licensure Exams The ASU Nursing program is in full compliance with the accreditation standard for this criterion. The ASU pass rate for first-time writers for the past years, with one exception, was well above the national mean for NCLEX-RN pass rates and the desired level on the Nursing program Master plan. In addition, the four year average pass rate has remained above the required Georgia Board of Nursing minimum of 80% for first-time writers of the licensure exam. The ASU baccalaureate degree nursing graduates performance level has exceeded that requirement. In fact, over the past seven years, with one exception (2010), the pass rate has been in the above 90%. The nursing faculty responded to the one year decreased pass rate by reviewing the student data and curriculum aspects that might be enhanced to improve student success on the licensure exam. Additional review and course alignment was performed, an NCLEX preparation course was added to the curriculum, and a Kaplan review was offered for all graduates, and subsequent classes performed better on the examination. The faculty continues to offer support to graduates who have not been successful in completing the NCLEX by offering tutorial, computerized testing and review, and support as requested with hopes that the subsequent pass rate for each year will be 100%.
7 TABLE -- Baccalaureate Degree Graduates PASSING RATES FOR FIRST TIME TAKERS Licensure Exam Results Year National Pass Rate ASU % Pass Rate # Taking # Pass # Fail Subsequent Passage rate unknown 14 1 fail /1 unknown n/a n/a Has not rewritten n/a n/a 4-year AVERAGE % fail/1 unknown
8 Program Completion Expected levels of achievement for program completion are determined by the faculty and reflect program demographics, academic progression, and program history. (ASU Nursing target 70%) Albany State University has a historic mission to educate diverse students and the current mission focuses on Creating an environment that nurtures academically focused learners from diverse backgrounds. (ASU Strategic Plan ). The student population consist of a primarily African-American (>90%) population, many of whom are traditional students and large number first generation college students. Admission scores reveal that while students meet the minimum requirements for admissions, grade point average and admission test scores are seldom significantly higher than the level required. The RN-BSN completion program also offers challenges for determining a specific graduation rate as most (>90%) of these students are part-time and complete the program at varied rates. The average time to graduation has been flexible as students often move to part-time, fail a course that requires they stay out a year, or stop-out due to fiscal constraints. The Nursing program admits students after the freshman year, and utilizes an admissions test-- previously the ERI-NET, and now the ATI -TEAS test. Over the years students have met with academic challenges due to Math and English deficits. The Nursing Department has initiated support sessions to assist students in preparing for the admissions exam, but have found that student may be able to pass the entrance exam with assistance, some students have difficulty with the rigor of the Nursing program. This contributes to a loss of students during the first year of the nursing program. The Nursing program uses the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS) definition of graduation rates, but uses a different entrance point to calculate the nursing graduation rate than the firsttime fulltime freshman designation that is used by the university at large. The Nursing graduation rate is determined using the number of first-time students who were admitted to and registered in the nursing program, minus those students who withdrew prior to the end of the drop-add period as the cohort group. Those students in the cohort group who graduate within 150% of the expected time are included in the graduation rate. As the rate has varied for the Nursing program, depending on the strength of the cohort group admitted, the Nursing program has not required a benchmark for time to degree completion. Table is a presentation of the past six years of graduation rates for the Baccalaureate degree student in the Albany State University Nursing Department. Baccalaureate Program Graduation Rate Generic nursing students are admitted in the fall of their sophomore year and are expected to complete the program in three years after admission. The graduation rate for fulltime ASU Baccalaureate Nursing students is the percentage of students graduating from the program within four and one half years (150% of three years) after admission to the first clinical nursing course. In 2012, the nursing program began to admit students in the spring semester of the sophomore year, thus creating a spring cohort as well as a fall cohort, but no graduation data is available for this cohort. In addition, an accelerated track for second degree students was created with the first students entering in fall, This accelerated cohort is expected to graduate within 5 semesters (18 months) of beginning the first nursing course, thus the graduation rate for this group would be assessed 27 months after admission. The first accelerated cohort of two students was admitted in 2009, but both dropped prior to the second semester. The second cohort in
9 2011, one student, moved out of state due to family problems, and the third cohort, 2012, consisting of two students, remains intact with graduation rate still pending. Findings The graduation rate for the generic baccalaureate student, fall cohort, has averaged 42.3% over the past three years (see table 6.5.2). This graduation rate is below the target rate of achievement designated in the ASU Nursing Department s Master Plan of Evaluation (70%). The graduation rate for the spring cohort is still pending since this initiative has not been in place for four and a half years at this point. Efforts continue toward improving upon this graduation rate. These efforts include the establishment of a Nursing Learning Community and a living-learning community for nursing majors. We continue to provide faculty mentoring and advisement with aggressive use of programs of study for students to facilitate student tracking during progression through the program. With funds provided through a Workforce Diversity grant freshman and nursing orientations and nursing boot camps have been held to assist nursing majors and nursing students in attaining and retaining knowledge and critical thinking skills needed for success in nursing (Materials available on site). Additional strategies are being implemented, including reactivation of the student nursing organization to promote greater peer support among students and encourage study groups. Table Graduation Rate for Generic Nursing Students YEAR ADMITTED GRADUATION RATE 2012 admitted % 2011 admitted % 2010 admitted % 2009 admitted % 2008 admitted % 2007 admitted %
10 The graduation rate for the RN-track student is difficult to set, as stated earlier. Graduation may be influenced by many factors because RN students often change to a part-time status during their matriculation in the program due to work demands, fueled by the nursing shortage, or economic constraints, or family concerns. Several students experienced family tragedy and decelerated their programs of study. While student progression is tracked through their programs of study and advisement, cohort designation is difficult due to shifts in student status to parttime, or students who stop taking classes for up to a year, then return to resume classes at a fulltime or part-time pace. Recommendations for establishment of a clearer definition of the RN-track cohort to facilitate tracking of the graduation rate for this group have been proposed. The Department of Institutional Research, Planning & Outreach is assisting the Nursing Department in refining the process for establishment of graduation rates for RN-track students that considers lifestyle shifts that are common to this cohort group Program satisfaction measures (qualitative and quantitative) address graduates and their employers. Exit survey data, with small returns (N=5), found that students ranked overall quality of education at ASU as average (2007, n=2) to above average or excellent (2012, n=3). Respondents similarly rated their clinical experience, currency of content presented and preparation for the licensure examination. One of the highest ranked areas was advisement and the area falling between average and above average was preparation for the role after graduation. Survey of graduates one or more years after graduation (cohorts from 2006 and ) revealed very positive responses to questions related to preparation for practice. For example, graduates from each year responded that the program prepared them for practice with a level of 4 or 5 (above average to excellence) reported by most of those responding (92.3%, n=13). Data from the surveys, though limited, will be used to solicit additional information from current students and continue efforts to obtain information from graduates regarding beneficial and least beneficial aspects of the program. Employer survey data revealed that respondents (n=4) reported the program prepared graduates for practice at a level of 4 or 5 (above average to excellent level). Of those employers of the 2011 graduates, (n=3), % report employees demonstrated performance criteria most of the time to always, including use of professional standards, collaboration, and demonstration of professional behaviors.
11 STUDENT SATISFACTION / EMPLOYER SATISFACTION. TABLE Baccalaureate Degree Graduates YEAR GRADUATING STUDENTS (exit questionnaire) GRADUATE AFTER 1 YEAR (alumni survey) EMPLOYER AFTER 1 YEAR Pending out of 16 Pending out of 12 = 25% 1 out of 12 = 8.3% out of 7= 42.8% 3 out of 7= 42.8% None out of 7 = 14.2% 1 out of 7 = 14.2% out of 12 = 0% 2 out of 12 = 57.1% out of % 4 out of 4 --% Job placement rates are addressed through quantified measures that reflect program demographics and history. The employment rate for baccalaureate graduates was 100%. Graduates were found to be employed in hospitals, other health care facilities or a military facility, as registered nurses. Graduates who have not passed NCLEX are employed in other positions pending passing of NCLEX-RN, thus the maximum possible employment rate for the four year cohort of graduates is 96.7%. Our RN-BSN students and graduates entered and exited the program with employment, and often maintained the same positions throughout the program and afterward. Data related to employment was obtained from phone interviews, social media and survey data. Efforts to confirm the employment rate of licensed graduates of the baccalaureate program continue. In addition to surveys, online options and social media are being used. Graduating classes were sent an form of the evaluation and requested to return the survey by or regular mail, however few have been received despite promises to comply.
12 PLACEMENT RATES TABLE Baccalaureate Degree Generic Graduates STUDENTS GRADUATING EMPLOYED IN NURSING WITHIN ONE YEAR % % % % % % % 6.6 The systematic plan for evaluation encompasses students enrolled in distance education and includes evidence that student learning and program outcomes are comparable for all students. The RN-BSN track is offered to students through fully online courses, although students have the option to take the face-to-face course if they choose. Faculty teaching online courses maintain the same syllabi used for face-to-face courses and thus maintain the same learning outcomes which were derived from program outcomes. Comparable learning activities are used to assist students in achieving the learning outcomes, for example discussion boards are used to replace traditional classroom discussions and presentations are made using powerpoints and lecture notes or through media such as videoconferencing (online course access has been provided for site visitors). Clinical experiences for the online students and face-to-face students are comparable, in that clinical supervision is performed by the same faculty. Clinical arrangements for the one course (Community Health Nursing) that the students have in common are made in the same process. As RN-BSN students are licensed nurses, some expansion of their experiences is encouraged, thus the experiences may not be considered the same, but in terms of opportunities and accesses to clinical facilities, the experiences are comparable. The learning outcomes are comparable, and students must demonstrate achievement in a comparable manner, in that both the generic and RN-BSN students must, and do, successfully complete the standardized exam for the Community Health and Leadership courses (Data available on site).
13 Master s Degree Program 6.4 The program demonstrates evidence of achievement in meeting the following program outcomes: Performance on licensure exam (not applicable no entry level master s program) Performance on certification exam Program completion Program satisfaction Professional/Job placement not applicable Masters degree program Eighty percent of first-time candidates for certification exams will pass the exams Compliance: This standard is fully met for the master s program Master s degree Performance on certification exams The ASU Nursing program is in full compliance with the accreditation standard for this criterion. Both active master s degree program concentrations result in graduates who are eligible to take certification examinations in the area of specialization. However, the FNP graduates are the primary group sitting for certification examination each year, since certification is a requirement for practice. We are aware of one graduate from the Nurse Educator track who has taken the certification exam and she was successful. Table indicates the FNP certification exam results for the past seven years. The graduates have been very successful on the certification exam with pass rates exceeding 90% in all years, except one in which the pass rate was approximately 90%. TABLE FNP Graduates Taking Certification Exam and number employed within 1 year of passing the exam Year of Graduation Total # of Graduates Number (percentage) of students who took the certification exam and passed on the first attempt Percent of FNP Graduates Employed within 1 year of passing the certification exam (100%) 100% (93.3%) 100% (87.5%) 100% (100%) 100% (95%) 100% (100%) 100% (1student never took exam 8 (100%) 100% due to illness) Eighty percent of students will graduate from their program within 1 ½ times the length of the program Master s Program Completion / Graduation rates The Graduation rate for the fulltime Masters in Nursing students is the percentage of students graduating from the program within three (3) years after admission to the Intro to FNP or the
14 Curriculum Development in Nursing course. The graduation rate for Masters students over the past six years has remained over 80%, with the exception of one year. For most cohorts the graduation rate is over 90%, well above the 80% expected level of achievement stated in the NLNAC criterion and the ASU Nursing Master Plan of Evaluation. The average over the six year period is 83.4% which is above the expected 80% graduation rate. The one year of decreased graduation rate occurred during a change in cohort definition from students who enter the Theory course to students entering the first clinical course. A large number of students began to apply and enter the graduate nursing program resulting in many being placed on a waiting list. As a result, many students entered the Theory course knowing they would be delayed by as much as one to two years before entering the first clinical course. Several of these students were counted in the 2008 and did not complete in the 150% time period, thus dropping the graduation rate. When the cohort definition was changed to designate those students entering the first clinical course, the graduation rate also changed. Issues that impact Master s degree students graduation rates have included challenges in the cohort group, most of whom are women, who experienced lifestyle changes due to husband relocation--associated with the Marine base in Albany, pregnancy, or family tragedy. A recommendation was made that if a trend of decreasing graduation rates is noted for masters students, we will examine the possible reasons for the decline, possibly through exit interviews. If indicated, the definition used to define the cohort and to account for students shifts in status, as discussed above with RN-track students, will be examined and revised as indicated with assistance from The Department of Institutional Research, Planning & Outreach. In addition, to support students in completing their education, funds have been obtained through grants to allow students to decrease work hours and increase full time attendance in the program. TABLE Master s Degree Graduation Rates YEAR ADMITTED GRADUATION RATE 2012 (admitted 2009) 90% 2011 (admitted 2008) 2010 (admitted 2007) 2009 (admitted 2006) 2008 (admitted 2005) 2007 (admitted 2004) 46% 81% 100 % 90.9% 92.3% Eighty percent of graduates and their employers will express satisfaction with the program. Program Satisfaction -- End-program responses
15 Program Surveys were provided to master s degree nursing students at the end of the last semester of the program. Findings were primarily positive with the few masters students (n=15 from ) who provided input to the Exit Survey Report. The past five years of graduate surveys reveal that most (88.7%) of the MSN graduates responding to the exit survey, rated the program an average of 4 (above average) relative to the degree to which they were prepared for the position assumed upon graduation. For the aspect of the program deemed a major strength, most alumni indicated the online availability was of great benefit and allowed minimum disruption of their work scheduled. The one suggestion for improvement centered around clinical placement. Due to the tremendous competition for sites, some students had to travel a distance from their homes to find clinical sites. Data from the surveys, though limited, has been used to modify our clinical placement processes and to solicit additional information from current students regarding concerns about the program. We will continue efforts to obtain information from graduates regarding beneficial and least beneficial aspects of the program. In addition, most masters alumni respondents, (86.7%, n=5) rated the overall quality of instruction in the nursing department as average to excellent, and their employer respondents (n=2, 100%) consistently rated their employees as demonstrating all performance criteria most of the time to always, and % indicating that employees used professional standards, collaborated, and demonstrated professional behaviors most of the time to always. Survey results for Master s graduates were obtained from very small samples due to poor returns. Repeat mailings were used in addition to internet and phone calls. The small returns obtained resulted from strategies which included personal delivery of surveys to graduates at employment sites (with institutional permission) and still return of the delivered surveys were minimal. An additional measure of program quality is found in a designation reported in 2012 U S News and World Report, that the ASU online nursing graduate program was ranked among the top online nursing graduate degrees. The results were based on a nation-wide survey with 231 institutions responding. Albany State University ranked 18 th nationally and first in Georgia for admissions selectivity; Albany State University ranked 19 th in the country and first in Georgia for Student Services and Technology; Albany State University ranked 47 th in the country and 4 th in Georgia for student engagement and accreditation Eighty percent of those seeking employment will be involved in role-related professional practice at one year post-graduation Professional Employment placement The employment rate for masters graduates was determined through search of social media, calling health care facilities and outreach to graduates, with feedback from all graduates. Table shows the results of efforts to determine employment status of FNP and NE graduates. All graduates report working in the nursing profession, practice or education within one year of graduation or passing of the certification examination. Data over the past seven years indicates respondents hold administrative, faculty and advance practice positions.
16 TABLE 6.4.5a FNP Graduates Taking Certification Exam and number employed within 1 year of passing the exam Year of Graduation Total # of Graduates Percent of FNP Graduates Employed within 1 year of passing the certification exam % % % % % % (1 student didn t sit for exam) 100% TABLE 6.4.5b NE Graduates Employed within 1 year of graduation Year of Graduation Total # of Graduates % N/A N/A % % % % Percent of NE Graduates Employed within 1 year of Graduation from Program Criterion 6.5 The systematic plan for evaluation encompasses students enrolled in distance education and includes evidence that student learning and program outcomes are comparable for all students As the graduate program, both tracks, are fully online, this criterion is fully met as the Master Plan includes these students. There are no students taking graduate nursing courses face-to face delivery mode. The educational experience for all graduate nursing students is comparable. Standard 6: Summary This standard and criteria are presented here as documentation of the program in place within the Department of Nursing for assessment of student academic achievement. Criteria are met with evaluation of graduation rate, and baccalaureate and master s degree student pass rates being assessed on a regular basis. Exit, Alumni and employer survey processes are in place, with vigorous attempts being made to obtain data from graduates relative to job placement rates and student and employer satisfaction. Additional strategies to improve effectiveness of data collection methods are being implemented, including revision of data collection tools, with the assistance of the University s Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Outreach, and the use of online environment to facilitate data collection and analysis. Strategies will continue to be evaluated for effectiveness with the recent graduates at the one year post graduation mark.