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Letter to the editor: School of Nursing Interim Dean Karen Melillo addresses HESI policy update

Dear Editor,

Your Feb. 20 article on concerns raised by some nursing students was a window into a larger, ongoing discussion that has been underway in the School of Nursing for months.

On March 8, faculty and leadership in the school met with nursing students to announce changes to, and receive feedback on, the academic progression policy. This was the most recent of several informational sessions we have had with students. As we worked to find the best balance to continue to elevate the academic strength of the nursing program while ensuring students are receiving the support they need to be successful, the School of Nursing put the following policy changes into immediate effect:

  1. Students who do not meet the recommended benchmark of 850 on their HESI standardized exam will continue in the nursing program as long as they meet all other academic standards.
  1. As they have been shown to be accurate predictors of future success in the profession and on the NCLEX-RN state board of nursing exam, HESI will continue to be used as a comprehensive final exam.
  2. Beginning in fall 2017, the specialty exam will be administered at the end of each seven-week period and HESI review sessions will be available for all students.
  3. Sophomore, junior and senior nursing students who do not achieve the 850 benchmark on the HESI standardized exam will receive resources for success.

Students with additional questions can also reach out to their faculty adviser.

The goal of our curriculum has always been to ensure students are gathering and retaining the knowledge they need to pass the NCLEX-RN state board exam and to provide the highest level of care to patients as nursing professionals. Even with these policy modifications, the HESI standardized exam remains a critical predictive tool for students to evaluate their preparedness for a successful nursing career.

I thank the nursing students for their engagement as these conversations are essential to the achievement of their academic goals. Our top priority is the success of our students and we are committed to preparing them to be excellent health care providers.


Karen Devereaux Melillo, Ph. D., A-GNP-C, FAANP, FGSA
Interim Dean
School of Nursing

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  1. TM said:

    This is a great change for the nursing students who been having challenges due to the wrong policies made by the nursing department. I’m glad to see nursing students stepping up for their right to success in nursing program.

  2. Gretel said:

    Dear Dean Melillo – This might be a good time to review your Nursing curriculum & see where the students are not testing well & make some changes accordingly.They are smart kids, give them the right tools & they will do fine. Glad everyone realized “dismissal” was not the way to improve test scores.

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