Hancock Nursing Program Ranked One of Top 10 in the State

More than 97 percent passed the licensure exam in 2009-2013.

LVN ProgramMARCH 7, 2014 -- The licensed vocational nursing (LVN) program at Allan Hancock College has been ranked among the top 10 best programs in California by the website PracticalNursing.org.  The ranking means Hancock’s program is considered in the top four percent of the 166 state-approved LVN programs at community colleges, technical centers and private career schools.

The rankings are based on the pass rates of the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) between 2009 and 2013.  More than 97 percent (97.61) of Hancock students who took the NCLEX-PN passed, including 100 percent in 2011 and 2012.  The statewide average pass rate is 76 percent, while the national rate is 81 percent.

“We are very pleased to be placed in the top 10 in the state.  We have known for years that our pass rates were among the best in the nation,” said Bonny Friedrich, the director of Hancock’s LVN program.

The NCLEX-PN is used by state boards of nursing around the country for testing proficiency and granting licensure.  The study considers the passing rates as the best way to determine how well a program prepares its students for a career in practical nursing.

“Over the last 12 years our overall pass rate for first-time candidates is 96 percent.  We have a 100 percent pass rate on second takes,” said Friedrich.

Friedrich attributes Hancock students’ success to the program’s high standard of instruction, consistent full-time faculty and strong relationships with clinical facilities on the Central Coast.

“On top of the state-of-the-art building and equipment, the Hancock instructors do an excellent job of preparing us for success,” said Jennifer Fernandez, who earned her LVN license through Hancock in 2012.  “From the first test in the LVN program at Hancock, the tests are based on the actual NCLEX-style of questioning.”

Students also receive 984 hours of clinical experience during their three semesters in the program.

“The benefits from the clinical experience were endless,” added Fernandez, who will take the state exam later this year to become a registered nurse.  “I was able to shadow nurses in local pediatric offices, witness and participate in the birth of a baby, as well as change dressings and perform CPR in a true emergency.  The program allows you to apply what you have learned in the classroom by interacting with actual patients.”

The program requires LVN students to complete five specific courses, like anatomy, prior to enrollment, as well as possess a current California Certified Nursing Assisting certification or Psychiatric Technician license.

“Taking the prerequisites and going through the CNA program helped me realize nursing was the ideal career,” said Codi Lillard, who graduated from the LVN program in December 2013.  “The classes were the building blocks for those to come and the CNA certificate made me more comfortable working bedside with patients.”

Friedrich says the prerequisites are a major reason why the program has an attrition rate of less than 10 percent over the last several years.

The LVN program at Allan Hancock College runs from January through December every year.  The application period for 2015 opens April 1 and closes June 30, 2014.  There is up to a three-year wait to enter the program because each year more than 150 people apply for about 35 spots.  “The wait list reflects the high interest people have in becoming nurses and receiving their education from an impacted and successful program,” added Friedrich.

There continues to be a strong demand for practical nurses in California.  The median income for LVNs in California in 2013 was $51,844 annually, according to the Employment Development Department . The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 23 percent increase in LVN jobs in California by 2020.

For more information on the LVN program, call 805.922.6966 ext. 3384 or email Tawnya Karstrom at tawnya.karstrom@hancockcollege.edu .

- AHC -

Caption: Licensed vocational nursing students Brittany Richard (left), Erin Eichperger (center) and Codi Lillard (right) participate in patient care simulations in the skills lab at Allan Hancock College. Hancock’s LVN program has been ranked among the top ten best programs in California.

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Last Modified May 2, 2014