July 31, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Recent graduates from Grand Rapids Community College’s Nursing program again achieved perfection -- some under extremely challenging conditions.
According to a National Council of Licensure Exams summary covering the first six months of 2020, all 50 GRCC students taking the licensing tests for registered and practical nurses for the first time passed. GRCC also had a 100 percent pass rate for registered and practical nurses in 2019.
Of the 50 recent test takers, 23 graduated in May and overcame many pandemic-related challenges.
“Things were changing daily and hourly for our students, and we were challenged to continue our programs and still align with state and national accreditation requirements,” said Michelle Richter, director of GRCC’s Nursing program.
After completing a face-to-face class that abruptly shifted to online instruction, these students had only one course left -- but it had to be completed in a clinical setting. Initially, they were told that wouldn’t be possible because hospitals and clinics were grappling with COVID-19.
“After much work and amazing support from some of our clinical partners -- Spectrum Health, Pine Rest, Forest View and Rest Haven -- we were able to place these students in the healthcare setting, which enabled them to complete their program,” Richter said.
In 2019, all nursing students passed licensing exams — 104 associate degree nurses and 42 LPN students. It was also the largest number of students taking the exams ever in one year.
College leaders say a new curriculum that increases interactive experiences is one reason for the success. Students take part in simulation sessions with manikins that respond and talk – and even deliver a baby.
GRCC is celebrating seven decades of training nurses this year, with its Practical Nursing certificate program turning 70 and the associate degree program turning 50. The anniversaries coincide with the World Health Organization’s designation of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, in honor of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.