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As Florida nursing schools proliferate, so do low test scores

Plummeting test scores among Florida nursing school graduates has prompted some legislators to propose a bill that would tighten the qualifications for nursing programs.  Imgres

The drop in test scores has been linked to bills passed in 2009 and 2010 that permitted trade schools and colleges to open nursing programs without approval of the state’s Board of Nursing. Those bills, sponsored by Sen. Denise Grimsley, were seen as a way to deal with a statewide nursing shortage and usurped the power of the 13-member board, which for years was charged with the review and approval of nursing programs.

While 231 more schools opened from 2009 to 2013 and more graduates were produced, both slid downward in overall performance. An increased number of nursing schools are on probation, and fail rates on the National Council Licensure Examination have gone up.

“We’ve followed and monitored the impact of the 2009 and 2010 legislation, and (Grimsley) has noted some of the unintended impact that has occurred,” said Martha DeCastro, vice president of nursing at the Florida Hospital Association, who has helped draft the new measure. “We were all surprised to see the abrupt drop in test scores.” Read more.  

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