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Nursing student wants change after failing exam

5:39 PM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local nursing student is determined to create change at her school after she was denied a diploma.  

The student did not want to reveal her identity for fear of retribution. She says she was scheduled to graduate ITT Breckinridge School of Nursing on September 27, but she failed the HESI, a graduation exam required by the school.

"I have completed all of the tasks dictated in the curriculum, completed with a grade of B or better and because of passing of the HESI has not been completed,they refuse to release my diploma," said the student.

The HESI is a standardized exam given to nursing students and some schools use it to indicate whether or not a student will do well on the NCLEX, the nursing board exam. To become a licensed nurse, you have to pass the NCLEX, but do not need to take the HESI. The exam is not a state requirement. 

"My frustration is that I don't believe we have had a better preparation for this exam, yes we had some remediation, remediation was left up to the students," said the student.

An online national petition created by students has already gained 220 signatures. It says the students are not against taking the HESI, but do not want ITT Breckinridge to keep it as a requirement for graduation.

"My time is very valuable, I have invested the time they required and have completed what is stated in the curriculum, completed all the classes and now because of this one aspect, it's holding my diploma so I can't move on with my career and my life," said the student.

The ITT Breckinridge catalog states that "a student enrolled in the Nursing Associate's degree program must pass the Health Education Systems, Inc. Exit Examination with a minimum score of 850."

Any student who does not pass the exam by the fourth attempt will have to take a remediation course and can then take the exam an unlimited amount of times, but will have to take a remediation course after each failed attempt.

"I'm willing to do what is necessary to proceed with obtaining my diploma. If this is what the school asks of me I will do it. I will be in compliance, but my goal is to get them to look at the whole HESI exam," said the student.

According to the Florida Department of Health of ITT Breckinridge School of Nursing in Jacksonville did not have any NCLEX test takes in the first half of 2012, and out of an unknown number of test takers, the school had a zero pass rate in the second half of the year. This year the school had a 50 percent pass rate in the first quarter and a 40 percent pass rate in the second.

Schools have the right to implement any exams as part of curriculum. The school has not commented on the student's concerns.

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