Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, University of Mary’s Nursing Bachelor of Science program is ranked #1 in their region and #1 out of 2,061 programs nationwide. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at the University of Mary is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
University of Mary’s assistant professor of nursing shares how Sherpath and Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) have contributed to three consecutive years of her program earning a 100% NCLEX pass rate.
University of Mary Assistant Professor of Nursing, Stacey Hutzenbiler, makes it a top priority to know each one of her students — or her “kids” as she says. And like most parents, she’s not afraid to admit just how proud she is of them.
“We’ve had three years of 100% pass rate in our traditional program,” Hutzenbiler said. “We’re proud of our kids. They work really, really hard — and, honestly, [the faculty] work really hard too.”
The University of Mary averages around 30 students per cohort, which allows faculty the opportunity to be really involved in each student’s learning and help guide them to success.
“I think once students really recognize that we as faculty are just as invested in their success as they are — and I think sometimes we’re more invested in their success than they are — they realize pretty quickly, OK this is serious,” Hutzenbiler said. “We’re not here to mess around.”
A key part in how Hutzenbiler invests in students’ success is through the extensive use of Sherpath in her maternal child nursing care course. Because she only has students for two-and-a-half hours per week (a three-credit course) to cover a vast amount of content, Hutzenbiler needed a tool to help students consume and retain content outside of class.
“I think [students have] found that the Sherpath lessons really prepare them for lecture,” Hutzenbiler said. “They come into lecture really understanding so we can move through content pretty quickly.”
Additionally, she says Sherpath has been a good tool to keep her students engaged while learning the information they need to know, as opposed to reading through pages upon pages in the textbook.
“It’s very interactive and those mini-quizzes that you take as part of the lessons really help them become familiar with the very specific vocabulary they need to know for maternity and how that vocabulary incorporates into the care of their patients,” Hutzenbiler said. “I think that’s been a very good way for them to get that content and get comfortable without have to slog through chapters. The questions, lessons, quizzes, and simulations are a bit more entertaining, so I think that’s been very helpful.”
In addition to using Sherpath in the junior-level maternal child course, students also use Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing for NCLEX in their senior block courses. Because of the previous exposure to EAQ within Sherpath, Hutzenbiler says it makes for a smooth transition for students and gives them confidence going into senior year.
“It gives students a really well-rounded means of pulling in knowledge and becoming comfortable with whatever NCLEX might throw at them,” Hutzenbiler said. “We visited with our students that have recently taken the NCLEX exam. Twenty-five out of 27 have tested and all have been successful so far. A majority of them only had 75 questions. They felt very prepared and comfortable with the questions, and certainly the EAQs have assisted in that.”
Students have also had a positive response to the simulations within Sherpath. Hutzenbiler explained that with the anticipated changes coming to NCLEX and an increased emphasis on clinical judgment, it’s important to the faculty that they are incorporating this as much as possible into their courses. Allowing students to build their clinical judgment skills in simulation lets students learn in a safe way.
“I think making mistakes is sometimes where you learn the most and [simulations] gives them a safe place to do that without feeling that it’s punitive,” Hutzenbiler said.
By using what’s available in Sherpath, Hutzenbiler has been able to hold her students accountable for their learning. If students score below an 83% on their first exam, she talks to them to identify why he/she has not been successful. For instance, let’s say a student didn’t complete a Sherpath lesson and missed several questions on the exam related to that lesson. Hutzenbiler will speak with the student about why they’re not completing the lessons and reiterate their importance.
“We really are in their business,” Hutzenbiler said. “We really want them to be successful.”
And with a 100% NCLEX pass rate, the “kids” have not disappointed.