ALAMOSA – The Adams State University Nursing Department has been reaccredited for the next 10 years by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Dr. Melissa Milner accepted the position as chair of the department, after serving as interim chair for the last academic year.
“My jaw dropped when I heard the news about the reaccreditation,” Milner said. “This is the maximum amount the CCNE allows for reaccreditation. I am so excited and believe the CCNE sees the same potential I see for the program and our students.”
The last nine months the department has adopted more rigorous policies and procedures for the program. “My immediate goal is to continue to focus on the RN to BSN courses and increase sound policies and procedures and hold the BSN program to a higher standard to graduate quality nurses.”
As the interim chair last academic year, Milner implemented an integrity measure which includes a four-week prep-course to prepare the nursing student for the national nursing exam. Based on the scores, most of the seniors have a 98 to 99 probability of passing the national nursing exam, NCLEX. “The exam they took predicts the probability they will pass the national licensure exam for nurses. The nursing students studied hard.”
She will continue to raise the bar with the goal of one-hundred percent pass rate by 2019, the current class of sophomore’s graduation year, who started on this high integrity program. “We plan on everyone graduating and passing the exam.”
Milner appreciates the hard work of her entire staff. “I didn’t do this by myself.” She believes the excellent communication between staff members and their hard work accomplished the goals they set last fall. The Nursing Department staff members include the newest faculty members, Alice Burch, assistant professor of nursing; and Kim Chacon, visiting assistant professor of nursing; as well as Jeri Chacon, clinical placement coordinator; Michael Geiger, simulation lab coordinator; and Kristina Cook, administrative assistant. “This group of six people banded together to create the program we all envisioned,” Milner added.
The department graduated 25 students this spring. “As our seniors passed their last exams we were all in tears. We take such pride in all they accomplished. You could see in their faces they passed the class, not because it was easy, but because they earned it. The feeling of accomplishment radiated off of them.” Fifty percent of the recent graduates have already found positions in the field, once they pass the national nursing exam, NCLEX.
As well as re-designing the nursing program, Milner also earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice, from Regis University, this spring, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and receiving the Doctor of Nursing Practice Excellence Award in Advance Leadership and Health Care. She began teaching at Adams State in 2013 as an assistant professor of nursing. Prior to Adams State she worked for United Health Care as an onsite inpatient care manager and as a case manager for Preferred Health Systems. She received her Master of Science in Nursing in 2012 from the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southwestern College. She received the 2014-2015 Outstanding Faculty Award and is a member Sigma Theta Tau, the American Nurses Association, the Colorado Nurses Association, and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Excellence.
“I am passionate about the nursing profession,” Milner said. “I know nursing school is hard, but I think of it as my responsibility for the future of this profession. I want our graduates to be as passionate and well-rounded as a nurse can be.”