The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


Small cohort, tighter admission requirements part of revamped nursing program

NEW ORLEANS (March 19, 2018) – Admission requirements have been tightened, with a set number of students to be admitted into the program starting in spring 2018, as part of the restructuring of Dillard University’s nursing program, according to Dr. Sharon Hutchinson, chair of the School of Nursing.

Starting in the fall, students will be allowed to enroll in prerequisite courses for the nursing major, she added.

Hutchinson shared the new requirements with students recently after the announcement Feb. 22 that the Louisiana State Board of Nursing had given initial approval to the school to implement its restructured pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing programs.

Dillard voluntarily stopped accepting new majors for its pre-licensure programs for the 2017-18 academic year because of declining student performance on the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, the standardized exam that each state board uses to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice once he or she has completed the degree.

The school used the time was used to perform a comprehensive internal assessment. The announcement culminated the review, during which the curriculum was retools, staffing needs evaluated, student support enhanced and entrance standards revisited, according to the school’s news release.

In a recent interview, Hutchinson explained that starting with the spring 2019 cohort of nursing students, “only the top 20 students who meet the admission criteria will enter the program.” Applicants will be required to complete a face-to-face interview and earn a score of 77 percent on the HESI Admission Assessment Exam for the required battery of tests. Students will be ranked according to those criteria, she said.

Hutchinson said major changes to the degree include:

  • A change to 120 credit hours to graduate, down from 126.
  • NUR 203 Nursing Pharmacology is now a prerequisite to apply to the School of Nursing.
  • Elimination of CHE112 General Chemistry lecture/lab as a requirement.
  • Credit hours for NUR 360 Psych/Mental Health Nursing were increased.
  • Pathophysiology content is now integrated into clinical-lecture courses.

The Dillard University School of Nursing offers three program plans for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN: the generic pre-licensure program, the LPN-BSN and the RN-BSN.

Some 36 students are currently enrolled, with nine junior-level nursing students, 22 senior-level nursing students and five RN-BSN students. Dillard’s nursing program has graduated more than 1,200 nursing students since its inception.

The program remains accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Historically, Dillard’s nursing program has been a huge draw for students, with as many as half of an entering freshman class declaring their interest as a pre-nursing student.

David Page, vice president of enrollment management, said that during the nursing admissions hiatus, “Once prospective students learned that they possibly would not be admitted into the nursing program, some of them elected to not enroll at Dillard University,”

With admissions reopening, Page said he expects “a bump in enrollment.”


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Small cohort, tighter admission requirements part of revamped nursing program