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MTCC to Launch Associate Degree Nursing Program in 2022

McDowell Tech will offer an associate degree nursing (ADN) program beginning the Fall 2022 semester. The new degree was approved by the North Carolina State Board of Nursing (NCBON) during its meeting on January 13th.

The ADN program prepares students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) and will better serve McDowell County’s healthcare needs and the needs of local residents. 

Assoc Degree Nursing Program

ADN is a two-year program and completion allows students to sit for the NCLEX exam. Students who receive a passing score on the exam are eligible to apply for licensure as a registered nurse in the state of North Carolina.

MTCC will begin accepting applications immediately for students interested in being admitted to the program this fall. Deadline for applications will be February 4th. The inaugural class for the MTCC ADN Nursing Program will enroll 24 new students, followed by an additional 24 students in the second and successive years, for an expected annual enrollment of 48 students beginning in the second year. 

“This is exciting news for McDowell Tech,” said Judy Melton, Dean of Arts and Sciences at McDowell Tech. “There is a high growth increase in the need for registered nurses related to the number of nurses who transfer to other occupations or retire. Nursing is a wonderful career which has so many opportunities for growth and exploration. As nursing educators, we are being pressed to produce more and more competent, high-quality graduates who can fill existing vacancies. This is our chance to have a real and lasting impact on the healthcare needs in our community.”

Dr. Lora Bartlett, who will be director for the program, agrees. “After a long wait, this is a dream come true,” she said. “We have had a practical nursing program at McDowell Tech for years that has consistently produced quality graduates who have performed well on state licensure exams and who have become well-respected LPN’s in our community. Now we have a chance to do the same thing at the associate degree level. I am confident that our program will produce graduates who will be among the best nurses that our state has to offer.”

Months and months of preparation have gone into planning the new curriculum and working with partners in the healthcare community to establish agreements with hospitals and other institutions where students will receive clinical site training to accompany classroom work and activities. Agreements have been established with Mission McDowell Hospital, Rutherford Regional Hospital, Carolina’s Health Care Blue Ridge, Grace Heights Health and Rehabilitation, and Mountain Ridge Wellness Center, among others.

Bartlett, along with Pam Sain, who has been an instructor in the college’s practical nurse education program, have overseen planning for the new curriculum. Sain will join Bartlett as coordinator of the ADN nursing program.

McDowell Tech is currently hiring two nursing faculty positions for the new program. Melton anticipates using a team teaching model to improve student success in the program, one of the most academically and clinically demanding degree programs offered at McDowell Tech.

McDowell Tech’s ADN program will have a very objective admissions process that utilizes an applicant’s TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) score as well as other criteria based on a point ranking system. The TEAS exam is a nationally standardized pre-admissions test for nursing and other allied health professions.

The minimum or “cutoff” score for successful applicants to the ADN program will be 65, while practical nursing (PN) applicants will have a “cutoff” score of 55.

“Up until this year, McDowell Tech has participated in a consortium with Cleveland and Isothermal Community Colleges to offer the ADN program,” said Melton. Together the three colleges formed the Foothills Nursing Consortium. The three colleges have been working together to successfully complete the final cohort of students in the Nursing Consortium with the class of 2023.  Each college will continue to offer an Associate Degree Nursing program on their individual campuses moving forward. 

“The changing landscape of healthcare in our community and throughout the region,” said Melton, “as well as the time and travel demands placed on students who have participated in the consortium caused each of our schools to rethink the consortium model in recent years. As a result, the three schools have decided to end the current consortium at the end of this academic year, and each of us applied to the State Board of Nursing to have individual ADN programs beginning this fall.”

“We thank the State Board of Nursing for their support throughout this application process and for their consideration and approval of our application,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt. “One of our primary goals is to promote workforce development in McDowell County, and producing high-quality nursing graduates to fill the critical workforce shortages will help provide quality care for our community for decades to come. And, this timing is perfect. Our Learn & Grow Scholarship program will continue to allow students to attend tuition-free during the 2022-2023 academic year.”

Students interested in applying for admission to the ADN program should contact Belinda Foster, Health Sciences Advisor at 652-0611 or via email at [email protected] .

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