The licensed vocational nursing (LVN) program at Allan Hancock College has been ranked among the top four percent of the 165 programs in California according to the website PracticalNursing.org.
“We are very pleased to once again be recognized. We have known for years that our pass rates were among the best in the nation,” said Bonny Friedrich, the director of Hancock’s LVN program. “The recognition is another testament to the college and the program’s high standard of instruction.”
The rankings were based on the pass rates of the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) between 2011 and 2014. The NCLEX-PN is used by state boards of nursing around the country for testing proficiency and granting licensure. The study considers the passing rates as the best way to determine how well a program prepares its students for a career in practical nursing.
According to the study, 97.90 percent of Hancock students who took the NCLEX-PN passed, including 100 percent in 2011 and 2012. The statewide average pass rate during the four-year period was 79 percent, while the national rate was 84 percent.
Friedrich says the program’s cumulative passing rate will continue to rise in future studies because all 27 students who took the exam in 2015 passed. The official passing rate for the Class of 2016 is unknown, but Friedrich said it likely could be 100 percent.
“I really attribute our student’ success to the program’s high standard of instruction, consistent full-time faculty, and the program’s strong relationships with clinical facilities on the Central Coast,” she said.
Amy Stowe agreed 100 percent with Friedrich. Stowe graduated from the college’s LVN program last December and passed the state exam. The Santa Maria native is currently in the college’s registered nursing (RN) program.
“I think it’s a well-deserved honor, but the ranking does not surprise me,” said Stowe. “The instructors were very supportive and encouraging. When I took my state boards, I felt completely confident and prepared.”
Students receive 984 hours of clinical experience during their three semesters in Hancock’s program.
“Applying what we already learned in the classroom by interacting with actual patients in clinic was great,” said Stowe. “The teachers were encouraging and supportive. When I completed a procedure for the first time, they encouraged me and said they believed in me. They pointed out the progression of my skills they had already seen, which really helped.”
The LVN program requires students to first complete five specific courses, like anatomy, prior to enrollment, as well as possess a current California Certified Nursing Assisting certification or Psychiatric Technician license. Friedrich says the prerequisites are a major reason why the programs has an attrition rate of less than 10 percent over the last several years.
The LVN program at Allan Hancock College runs from January through December every year. The application period for 2018 opens April 1 and closes June 30, 2017. There is up to a three-year wait to enter the program because each year more than 150 people apply for about 35 spots.
“The list reflects the high interest people have in becoming nurses and receiving their education from an impacted and successful program,” said Friedrich.
“The wait is worth it,” added Stowe. “Everyone who goes through the LVN program would agree.”
There continues to be a strong demand for practical nurses in California. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21 percent increase in LVN jobs in California by 2024. The median annual income for LVNs in nearby San Luis Obispo County was around $55,004 in 2016, about $2,000 more than the state average according to the Employment Development Department.
For more information on the LVN program call 805.922.6966 ext. 3384 or email Tawnya Karstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org .