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HESI Announces the New Score Requirement to Stay In the Nursing Program

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HESI Announces the New Score Requirement to Stay In the Nursing Program

  • February, 25 2017
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  • Azure College
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Administrators from the nursing program declined requests for interviews from The Connector but plan to address student concerns at the School of Nursing Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday afternoon in O’Leary Library.

  Nursing programs have implemented the standardized exam score to achieve a standard benchmark score of 850 or more on the HESI exam. The HESI exit exams are taken by all nursing students to evaluate their readiness for the. The score of from the results are used further to identify the weakness and strength if student and to know any remediation needs.

The HESI exit exam is a predictor of success on the further exams. These are especially designed to test a student’s knowledge and understanding of the entire nursing curriculum. The test contains 150 questions that are focused on thinking ability of student. 

Weed Hall on South Campus is home to many classes for students in the School of Nursing. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell)

850 are considered as the magic number which stands nursing students and their degrees. The School of nursing has recently implemented a strictly designed standard for its students this academic session. The new standard is rigorous and requires individual student to score an 850 on their HESI exams, failing which will lead to discontinuity from the program. This has been implemented for UMass Lowell, a south campus which is home to many nursing students.

The HESI exam is a rigorous test that is mainly use to prepare nursing students and predicts the likelihood of good results on the NCLEX-RN exam which is further required to get certified as a registered nurse.

The 850 score implementation has been determined by the school of nursing faculty, under the College of Health Science’s Dean Shortie McKinney. In his statement via email, Mckinney says, “The 850 score requirement may sound high. In fact, a score of 850 is equivalent to a C. This is not an unreasonable expectation for nursing students”

What is the purpose of this program?

In his statement via email, Mckinney also spreads the light on the merits that new regulations are likely to bring. He believes that the 850 score rule will provide a strong foundation of nursing knowledge to the students, and protect the public by preparing competent nurses.

The School of Nursing has obligations to both students and the public:

1.      Provide a strong foundation of nursing knowledge and advice to nursing students so they have the best chance to graduate and become a registered nurse.

2.      Protect the public by ensuring that nursing students who graduate are prepared to be competent nurses. Everyone wants to know that their nurse is knowledgeable and will provide competent care,” McKinney wrote.


Students irked by the HESI score requirement

Each semester, nursing students take at least one of the HESI exams. It mainly begins with their sophomore year. It now means that every student’s place in the program is regularly at stake from now until graduation. Students are asked to take this computerized test thoroughly on various subjects to excel their nursing careers.

A junior student, Christina Galluccio, said that he didn’t know what was going to happen to him. He had scored below an 850 on one of her HESI exams in previous semester. She tried asking teachers about the latest implementation, but they had no idea, and they were not keeping the students informed. They just wanted the students to wait until the final circular.

Having failed the latest requirement, Christina, like many other students in the program, got a letter of dismissal from the program. She later appealed in the hopes of returning to her nursing school., Her letter arrived nearly a week before the start of another semester, which eventually gave her very little time to prepare for the exams. “I didn’t know at that point whether I was going to be back in the program, so I hadn’t bought my books or read the syllabus and that left me really unprepared for the start of class,” Galluccio said.

A third year student, Amanda Solari believes that the new HESI score implementations will just add on additional stress to lives of students. She understands that it’s important to get good grades and score well, but the 850 score will add so much stress. “I literally do nursing from nine to five every day and then I go back to my room and just sleep. My social life is non-existent”, said Solari.

On the contrary, a sophomore student, Sarah Nausati believes that HESI exams are crucial and a valuable part of the entire nursing curriculum. “It definitely is a nerve-wracking test and can seem pointless, but when I think about it, I don’t want a nurse working on me who was unable to pass this test that is based on the fundamentals of what we do. If you can’t pass that test and know what you need to do to help people, then nursing just isn’t the career for you.” Said Sarah.

The change in the curriculum has resulted in the increased possibility of the number of students that can get kicked out from their nursing program. The sudden announcement proves to be a daunting and surprising threat for both the seniors and sophomore students. They had no idea that this was going to come up, and senior students who are so close to the finish line finds it highly discouraging. “If I get kicked out, I don’t have an appeal. I don’t have anywhere to go, and what am I gonna do with my three-and-a-half years of education?”, said a third year student, Montiel.

What now?

Students are now seeking for compromise from the nursing program, and also hope to get additional practice resources from the authority. They want them to relive the stress and want some help to pass and stay in the program. Though Administers have declined the requests for further interviews, but have decided to address students concerns at the town hall meeting to be held on Tuesday.

The purpose of this program is to improve the efficacy of the standardized exit exam, and make the graduates prepared enough to pass the nursing licensing examination. Consumers have also demanded that the graduate nurses be thoroughly prepared avoid crisis in their practice period and instil higher technical and critical thinking skills.