info about Polk Community College RN program, Winter Haven Florida

  1. Hello all Nurses and future nurses,
    I just wanted to give some information on those who may be interested in attending Polk Community College RN program in Winter Haven Florida.
    As a student of the RN program, I can only speak about what I have seen first hand. If you were considering this community college for your RN program, you may want to read this before you apply.
    1. Polk community college accepts about 100 new RN students each term. That is the best part of the program.
    2. Passing any class in the RN program is 80 percent, which is a C. The RN program has modified the grading scale to cut out any students who would have normally made a 70 and passed. They state that the reasoning for this change is that the State RN test is 80 percent. Many other nursing programs now require an 80 in all their classes also.
    For those who have gotten in life with a 70, you will not make it in nursing unless you change your ways.
    3. I would estimate the number of students who retake Nursing I is about 15 to 20 percent. Retaking Nursing I is no easy task as you will have to pass all new test material, and repeat your nursing home clinicals and hospital clinicals. You will also have to submit new written material, as you cannot reuse any material already submitted.
    4. You can only repeat one nursing class out of 5. After you have used up your magic wish, you will be dropped from the program and only allowed entrance after two years later.
    5. In review of the policies of this RN program and many like it in the state, you can come to the conclusion, that of the 100 students who start, each term you will lose about 10-20 percent of the original class. In the final term, of the original class, you will graduate about 25 originals and another 15 from other classes who joined your class after failing one of the 5 classes.
    As you can see, there is still a nursing shortage, which is not being helped by many RN schools including Polk Community College. In an effort to keep their image of being in the top 5 state RN NCLEX exam results, they are failing dedicated and sincere students. Nursing schools should teach students how to perform skills. The NCLEX is what makes you a RN, not the diploma from a nursing school.
    You can take NCLEX review courses to brush up on your testing skills. A student should not be failed on tricky NCLEX style questions in Nursing I, but that is what is happining at Polk Community College, and perhaps other institutions.
    Some may say that others lives are in your hands and an 80% should be expected, becasue you only killed 20% of your patients.
    If you are able to memorize vast amounts of information, some usefull, some just poliically correct, then you will do fine in this nursing program. If you are one who questions why nurses do the things they do, and likes to analyze, and see a larger picture, then medical school may be your calling.
    Statistics show that 33 percent of RN's in their first year will quit, even after making it through RN school. This truly is a thankless job, and at present, a pretty hard occupation to get into due to the burdens placed on the current RN student population.
    I wish each and every one of you good luck in your nursing or medical careers, and good luck in getting in, and staying in your RN progams.
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  3. by   Boog'sCRRN246
    80% has always been the passing grade in PCC's RN program. It hasn't been "modified". What's wrong with being held to a higher standard?

    "In an effort to keep their image of being in the top 5 state RN NCLEX exam results, they are failing dedicated and sincere students. Nursing schools should teach students how to perform skills. The NCLEX is what makes you a RN, not the diploma from a nursing school."
    The NCLEX might make you an RN, but the diploma is what enables you to take the NCLEX...they kind of go hand-in-hand. Dedication and sincerity are wonderful, but a certain amount of intelligence goes along with being a nurse. It only gets harder after Nursing I.

    I know many nurses who have completed PCC's RN program and there's no way they would knock the program or it's teaching/grading methods. It's just that good.
  4. by   Destinyx13
    I have to agree Boog'sGirl. And most RN programs require you to have an 80% average, no just PCC. PCC has a VERY VERY high pass rate on the NCLEX and I'm sure much of that is because they hold you to such a high standard. I'm currently in the Transition program and I feel completely prepared to take my boards. I checked out a bunch of different schools before picking PCC and I chose them because of their pass rate and talking to other satisfied students. Plus I haven't had a problem staying well above and 80% average at all throughout the program. It just takes a little extra time and studying, but the instructors definitely give you the information you need, its just up to the student to study it. . . ! I'm sorry you feel that way about PCC and had a bad experience, but I think the majority of students have much better experiences.
  5. by   Boog'sCRRN246
    Good luck in the transition program! I just recently turned in my application for August...not sure how I'm gonna handle not knowing anything until May
  6. by   Destinyx13
    I know how you feel! It was the longest wait of my life, but well worth it!! Its really rigorous, but very well worth it and you'll be very prepared for your Boards! Just stay organized and you'll be fine!! Good Luck! If you ever need any help or anything let me know!
  7. by   lovincountry
    Hard, Cold Facts About Polk Community College (now Polk State College)...

    Congratulations on your journey to become an R.N., but are you sure you want to go here? Better get some real facts first.

    OK, the grading issue. It's not a problem necessarily. The minimum 80% is not bad, but if you finish with a 79.99% you will NOT be rounded up and passed! This is not geared for "patient safety" or your benefit, rounding less than 1 point should be appropriate and fair policy. The way it works is that you must have a 80.0% of your test averages BEFORE your quiz grades will be calculated in. If you finish a semester with say, an 82% and your quiz average is low, you will fail the semester. Quizzes cannot help your grade, only hurt, this is a fact.

    Next, there are several areas that are subjectively graded such as in clinical rotations (in 12 areas) and in your semester-end CPE, where you must demonstrate a few skills before an instructor, you will not know which 3 will be selected in advance (and there's many each semester). If you're thinking that you'll have plenty to learn hands-on, think again, unless you're already working in the field in some capacity or interning (Nursing III or beyond).

    Because there is a great deal of subjective grading, if an instructor doesn't like you, God help you, they may very well fail you, and you will have no grievance no matter what! The administration does NOT take a student's side at any cost, for any reason. The instructors are, for lack of a better term, cult-like in how they bandwagon any issue.

    Ok, the NCLEX, their rates are usually high, but the last was only 83% if memory serves. Perhaps due to the incredible turnover of employees over the past year or so.

    Passing the courses and subjective areas is only one thing to contend with. The atmosphere provided to students is definitely NOT one of support and guidance. These people enjoy making students squirm, I assure you. And the tests are created by the instructors, so if they are not in keeping with the textbook (which does happen) you have no say in the matter unless you're an "A" student or showing up in a pack!

    I've heard that now they've instituted some sort of Pre-NCLEX in Nursing 5 that you must pass in order to graduate and successfully complete Nursing 5. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! You are paying for the education, not passing the NCLEX (although this is of course your goal)! However you prep for the NCLEX and whether or not you pass or fail has NOTHING to do with what you have paid for! This is being done to keep up or improve their sliding NCLEX scores, and for no other reason, trust me. It's just one more hoop they force you to jump through, this program is not like others I know... these people are not there for you, but for their reputation and self-inflation, you would think these people were receiving a commission for each miserable event they create.

    All I'm stressing is this... go for your dream, work hard, study hard. It's not an easy road, but if you want it you'll get there. But, by all means, this is 2 yrs of your life and YOUR future, be informed and think it through before you dive in and regret it. I cannot begin to stress how many people drop from this program because of the political/unethical B.S. You'll start with 100 students and if you don't repeat any courses, you'll be lucky to finish with 60% of those you started with. These are NOT good statistics, and there's a reason for it!!

    I regretted every minute of my decision to want this program so badly because of the NCLEX scores and rumors. It's NOT a great program, it is not set up to help you achieve a dream or goal. Many components are actually set up to fail you if possible. If only 20 students a year repeat, how much extra revenue does this give the school?
  8. by   caroladybelle
    I graduated from in 1993. And the standards sound pretty much the same as when I was there, with the exception of the "preNCLEX" test. We were not rounded up and had to make at least 80% in every single component (Clinical/Tests/Case Study/passing CPE) - if you made less than 80% on any component, no matter how good your others were you failed. THIS NOTHING NEW.

    And yes, it is because of safety and does benefit the pts under your care. Do you want a nurse/MD that cannot pass exams, or make a plan for their care more than 20% of the time, caring for you or your newborn baby or operating on you?

    And if you check nationally, many if not most GOOD programs have the same standard, of not rounding up, of 80% as passing, and of dropping you if you fail more than one clinical class. This not new or unusual. There are some programs (at least 1 in the area) that will take you and your money no matter what and some acquaintances of mine went that route after being dropped by Polk. She then failed Boards.

    And one thing that nursing will teach you is Nursing school is not fair because Nursing is not fair - that is life. There will be gossips and dictators, and policies that change with no logic behind the change and stupid rules and people that think you are an awasome nurse and others that treat you like a dunce. Nursing School should give practice in being able to deal with all of these things, learn when to argue and when to cool your jets. Get used to it, learn to deal or you are going to have rough life in Nursing.

    The word "shortage" got thrown in there as reason to lower standards. That is not an acceptable reason to lower standards of nursing education.

    And as someone who left Polk County but has worked in the two largest hospitals in that County (and one other hospital there), I can pretty much tell you THERE IS NO SHORTAGE there of nurses ready and willing to work, in acceptable and tolerable conditions. And they were able to pass nursing school..

    There IS a deficit of facilities with acceptable ratios, work loads and conditions for good and safe nursing practice. No matter the Magnet status of WHH....given the extremely bad behavior of WHHs management towards nurses in the past...I have little faith that they will use Magnet status as anything but a PR draw. When they retain for more than 6 years, I may get faith again, but they have a long history of poor conditions to make up for.

    No, it is not there to help you achieve a goal or dream. It is there to educate future nurses and trying to ensure that they are safe practitioners that can survive what nursing is. And a lot of times that is not fair, but it is the way that it is.
  9. by   lovincountry
    I agree with you about the field. But as far as testing, my point was that if a student messes up on one test (doesn't fill in a bubble on the scantron, etc--any reason) and finishes the course with a 79.9 instead of an 80.0 it will not matter if her/his scores in every other area are 100.0 they will not be calculated. Allowing to round one point would not indicate an increased risk of patient safety or lack of knowledge about the content of the course. If PCC rounded this last point or calculated all grades together, the student in this example would have finished with a very decent grade instead of failing the course, that was my point.

    As for the preNCLEX, again, I do not believe it is the authority of the school to make sure you pass the NCLEX as a part of their curriculum, this is done for their PR purposes. It is their job to educate you and prepare you, the rest is on you, a student will be graduated from the program regardless of passing the NCLEX (used to be anyway) because PCC is not an authority on NCLEX, nor an authorized agent per se. And most students will be working as interns at that point and their facility will offer NCLEX prep classes. Isn't it odd that since they've implemented a preNCLEX, their NCLEX scores have dropped from the upper 90's to the mid 80's, the lowest scores they've ever had?

    They've had so, so much faculty turnover and experimental changes since the director, Sharon Davis left, the program is horrendous for the student caught in these changes.
    And I also disagree on what is their prorogative in preparing you for the 'real world'. Introducing the political BS of the field into the classroom and potentially ruining the future of their students is not OK, ever. There are sufficient clinical rotations and experiences to introduce the student to this unfortunate experience without assistance from PCC. Their intentions are not to give you a dose of the real world, but a power trip for some who express this in subjectively graded areas against students that they don't like. In the real world, one can quit and work elsewhere if need be, the student does not have the option of just jumping into another nursing program at another school, for a host of reasons. An educator's job is to educate in an environment that is conducive to learning and is supportive. These two do not exist at PCC as a general rule in their program. You are right life is not fair, but a learning environment and the respective education is legally mandated to be fair, and morally for some of us. Again, it is their job to be fair and it is their job to provide all the tools for the greatest success (without overstepping their boundaries and authority, or creating practices that further their own agenda).

    Those who believe that these administrators at PCC are acting in the best interest of the patient or student have been seriously misled and have bought into their rhetoric. These people are the types who will put a hand on your shoulder, smile sweetly, and ask in the most sincere voice, "how are you?" while plunging a knife into your back. Instuctors are given the power to lie, manipulate, twist, etc. The environment is hostile. Subjectively graded areas should be eliminated, other colleges and universities do not use CPE's and do just fine in their NCLEX scores. Clinicals can be grades as either pass or fail with an "acceptable" level of skill for that semester instead of giving 12 areas, or 12 opportunities for an instructor to do whatever they please. And the administration (director & dean) should have a policy of investigating student complaints, not a blanket approach of simply standing behind the instructor who may have been in the wrong.

    There is just so much wrong with this program, I cannot understand how any person can defend their agenda and/or actions.
  10. by   Boog'sCRRN246
    :icon_roll Again I will say, you must have failed out of this program or you would not be launching this tirade against it. None of their methods are new. Nursing requirements are legendary amongst those taking pre-reqs and trying to get in to this program. Everyone knows about the GPA requirements and the testing requirements and the "no-rounding" rule well before they even apply. YTD, the pass rate for this school was 92.68%. Apparently, someone is doing something right because students are still passing the NCLEX.
  11. by   lovincountry
    NO, I actually did very well in their program, getting high grades is not an issue for me, but thanks for the assumption. Putting the truth in writing for the benefit of others does not equate to one who is disgruntled because they couldn't 'cut it'. This isn't about me though, it's about what I know and how they really operate. I was providing information so that people can be make informed decisions. I would endorse high NCLEX rates to anyone, I would not endorse many of the things PCC does to get them. What I wrote about them is the truth, and they're the reasons why so many people leave their program and transfer elsewhere. Other colleges and universities have excellent NCLEX scores without the BS, politics, and "let's try this" approach. I could name a few states where their unethical and/or unfair practices would be pubicized quickly and abruptly ended. But students and former students need to stand up and not be scared. These people do retaliate, the students know it, so nothing gets done.

    As for the NCLEX, if you re-read my first post I added if "memory serves", but I was referring to their last quarter, not YTD. Their last quarter was almost 87% passing and their current YTD is almost 93%, but I am pretty sure that their YTD previously was in the upper 90's, not lower. The point was the % dropping, I never said it wasn't a good percentage or above the national average, it was really addressing the implementation of a pre-NCLEX and lowered passing %. And again, passing the NCLEX is not really their concern as degrees are issued regardless. NCLEX rates is their PR and bragging rights. And again, a large bulk of these scores are from prep classes given by the hospitals, etc where most of the graduating class is working as interns. This fact shouldn't be neglected when discussing NCLEX scores.

    Another point I was making was their experimental changes, which will no doubt continue because of the NCLEX changes. They brag pretty often (or used to) about their 98% and 99% pass rates, so for them to drop by >6% for the past year and >10% recently, they will panic and continue experimenting with people, I find this unethical as it directly affects the lives of human beings, not merely "students," things with a label. I watched several people, including single parents with the quality of other peoples' lives at stake, go down because of various practices that PCC finds acceptable, even ones that are technically illegal by the rules/laws of the Board of Ed & FL Statutes.

    So, I won't continue to argue the point. I'm sure that this information will help at least a few potential students or those already in Nursing I. It is because of everything other than the NCLEX scores (which is quite substantial) that I would not recommend this program to others. High NCLEX scores can be found at other colleges.
  12. by   lovincountry
    You are absolutely correct! This is one example of their unethical practices, they absolutely will do as they see fit, regardless of written policy (PSC or State of FL). I have not heard of this policy (as a transfer) in any other program. You are correct that a student who fails in Program A must wait a certain number of years to re-admit to Program A, depending on school policy. I have never heard of a student being required to wait any amount of time to be accepted into a different school.

    All I can say to you is that when I went through their program, I never once met a student that was a transfer from another program. Perhaps what you are going through is what others have experienced as well, who knows, maybe they just don't want someone who didn't make PSC their first choice.

    I'm actually wondering why you are being told this. Did you have a decent GPA in all prerequisites decent enough to be accepted? Did you fail all nursing courses at the other school or were you looking to transfer in at least one nursing course? It sounds to me as though all was in order & that you are a could be accepted with the exception of this 3yr rule. If this 'rule' is the only issue for acceptance I would go up the chain of command and keep fighting, but I warn you, if you are remembered by others in the program, there will probably be some retaliation for your efforts.

    One suggestion... you can get over to Ridge or Traviss and get your LPN by next summer, then go to PSC for their LPN-RN transition. I hope something works out for you, keep us all posted. Don't give up! In the meantime, go to the college Ombudsman and ask him/her to get you a copy of the school policy for admittance to the nursing program. The nursing program (or any other) cannot have policy that has not been approved by PSC. I have never seen this 3yr rule for any NON re-admitting PSC nursing student. Good luck!
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 13, '09
  13. by   Nursing Student 09
    I met all their program requirements and more because I was enrolled in a nursing program before. If I got in, I would be a little ahead of the game. I was willing to start from the beginning at their program. Obviously I'm not in good standing that's why I'm no longer there. Ever since then, we have gone back and forth in emails and she has been giving me little parts of the policy which she copies and pastes and it doesn't make sense... because everything she sends me has to do with a PSC student applying for readmission after failing there and I am a new student who has never attended PSC. Nothing so far that I have seen has anything to do with a student coming from another school. I requested a copy of the policy rather than the bits and pieces she is sending me that is irrelevant. She has been a trip. Finally this morning I wrote a letter to the Dean of Academics (since I noticed that there is not a Dean of Health Science as far as I know) and when I get a response I'm sending all the emails over to her and if this isn't clarified by the dean, my next step is taking it to the provost. I no longer want to go to their nursing program because of all the hassle I've been going through so far.. but I don't plan on walking away without letting someone higher up know that I know that this was not right and not handled appropriately.
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 13, '09
  14. by   Nursing Student 09
    Quote from lovincountry
    one suggestion... you can get over to ridge or traviss and get your lpn by next summer, then go to psc for their lpn-rn transition. i hope something works out for you, keep us all posted. don't give up! in the meantime, go to the college ombudsman and ask him/her to get you a copy of the school policy for admittance to the nursing program. the nursing program (or any other) cannot have policy that has not been approved by psc. i have never seen this 3yr rule for any non re-admitting psc nursing student. good luck!
    thank you for your understanding. were you a graduate of their program? i have never heard or ridge or travis, are they nursing schools? *name removed by moderator* just emailed me back saying that the nursing admittance policy is lengthy and if i want to see it i would have to come to her office. she again stated that i cannot apply to their program because it is their practice to apply the same policy to someone applying for the program as they would for someone in their program. she also said per this practice, being ineligible to continue in one program makes an individual ineligible to apply to their program. i want a copy of that policy. what do you think is the best way to get it? i think i just may ask her if this "practice" is written anywhere in policy.
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 13, '09