TSC nursing program ending

BROWNSVILLE — The Texas Board of Nursing will close the Texas Southmost College associate degree nursing program at semester’s end because TSC failed to maintain the required state nursing exam pass rate since becoming an independent institution.

The program has six current students, who will continue to enroll, take courses to complete and take their state exam, TSC said in a news release.

“Nursing programs are required to maintain a state nursing exam pass rate of 80 percent and TSC has failed to meet the 80 percent standard since reopening as an independent community college in fall 2013,” TSC Interim President Mike Shannon said. “It’s unfortunate for our students and our community that we have reached this point.”

A year ago the Texas Board of Nursing changed TSC’s status from “Full Approval with a Warning” to “Conditional Approval.” That prevented TSC from enrolling new students in the program until it fixes the deficiencies.

In 2013, the pass rate was 71.3 percent.

Over the next two years, the rate fell to 46.36 percent in 2014 and 57.14 percent for 2015.

In 2016, after the Board of Trustees was made aware by TSC administration that there was a problem, the college was able to raise the rate to 73.68 percent.

“During the closure, TSC will review, evaluate, and adjust admission criteria, curriculum, and testing in order to reorganize and enhance the ADN program for a future relaunch,” Shannon said.

According to the TBN, TSC could be eligible to offer a new ADN program within one year.

The college anticipates offering the new program in fall 2018, Edgar Chrnko, TSC director of marketing and communications, said.

Earlier, TSC said it was working with the Texas Board of Nursing to review additional options to improve the program’s status, and that it had engaged Texas A&M University’s School of Nursing to recommend ways to enhance the TSC program.

Sharon Wilkerson, dean of the Texas A&M College of Nursing, said then that A&M’s role would be advisory only and that TSC would have to work to overcome academic challenges facing the program.

TSC’s Licensed Vocational Nursing program continues to operate normally and is not affected by any of the changes to the ADN program, Chrnko said.