Lake Technical College Faculty Finds Value in EAQ and HESI for Nontraditional PN Students

Students studying in lecture hall

At-A-Glance Facts

Lake Technical College, a multi-campus college located in Florida, offers a practical nursing program. Lake Technical College is approved and regulated by the Florida Department of Education and the PN program is certified by the Florida State Board of Nursing.

Lake Technical College’s program director and curriculum designer discuss why they switched to Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) and HESI and how it has benefitted their nontraditional students.

Meet Mary, a 35-year-old single mom. She’s busy juggling the kids’ schedules and her own, but she’s determined to become a nurse. She’s enrolled in an LPN program, making use of every available minute to complete coursework, study, and prepare for the NCLEX®.

Sound like some of your students?

At Lake Technical College, this is a common situation for students in its LPN program. A majority of the student body falls into the “nontraditional” category, so it’s crucial for faculty to have a tool that can help keep students on track while balancing their personal lives.

“The program moves very quickly and [students] have a lot of tests, so they need a lot of study time, so I think that’s really been a big piece of this is that they have access to [Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing] all the time,” Lake Technical College LPN Program Director Mary VanDellen said. “It’s always with them. A mom sitting at a soccer game can be quizzing herself in EAQ.”

When Beth Thornton joined the LPN program five years ago as the Curriculum Designer, she decided to look at Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing and HESI to better improve outcomes.

“ATI was being used previously,” Thornton said. “We didn’t have exceptional outcomes with it, so it supported looking at something else. We looked at EAQ and it just was phenomenal in the classroom.”

Thornton said the most challenging part of implementing EAQ was getting faculty buy-in, especially with having several campuses. She encourages other programs that are going to implement EAQ to take time to train the faculty so they can be successful.

“Once [faculty] learned how to use the tool, it was a lot better,” Thornton said. “They were able to get the students excited, too. The students really took the initiative because they could use it whenever they needed. If there was any downtime in the classroom, they could get on it. There were some strict guidelines set by the faculty of what they had to complete because it was part of their grade.”

Lake Technical College uses EAQ for NCLEX-PN preparation and instructors assign quizzes based on the course they are teaching. Students are required to get to mastery level, which counts as a portion of their grade.

“The feedback from the students has been that it is really helpful with preparing them to take the NCLEX exam,” VanDellen said.

Additionally, Thornton also decided to switch to HESI when she joined the program because she felt like ATI had a lot of gaps in their testing product.

“I didn’t find [ATI] robust enough,” Thornton said. “I felt like there were some holes. When I looked at [HESI], the rep showed us a lot of stuff. I was impressed with it. I read the reports on how it had affected the outcomes and just kind of took a leap of faith.”

The leap of faith paid off as the PN program’s NCLEX pass rate increased from 80% to a current rate of 91%. Thornton and VanDellen explained that they analyzed the HESI data after the first year of using the product to identify holes in the curriculum.

“We’re looking at our curriculum and tweaking it as we go along,” VanDellen said. “It is a good tool for us to use as we evaluate our program.”

Lake Technical College has a remediation policy in place for students who score under 850 on their HESI exam. Students who score 800-849 have a minimum of two hours per week of remediation. Students who score 700-799 have three hours per week. Students who score below 699 have four hours per week. Faculty make students aware of this policy during orientation and review it again as the HESI exam approaches.

“Make sure you have a point person that handles the remediation data for all classes,” Thornton said. “Write your policy and make sure students have handouts and it’s really clear about the remediation policy. That helped us tremendously.”

Thornton and VanDellen agreed that they plan to dive deeper into the HESI data so they can work with instructors to identify areas for improvement and continue to strengthen their program.