The Nursing Schools Almanac ranked the Madera Community College Registered Nurse program No. 25 out of 87 on its list of best associate’s degrees in nursing programs in the state. Photo via Madera Community College Facebook page
Written by Breanna Hardy
The Central Valley has been in need of health care workers especially since the pandemic. Madera Community College is making strides to help bolster the community’s nursing pipeline.
The Nursing Schools Almanac ranked the Madera Community College Registered Nurse program No. 25 out of 87 on its list of best associate’s degrees in nursing programs in the state. The ranks are based on academic prestige, program breadth and depth and student success on the nursing licensure exam, the NCLEX-RN.
The Almanac reports that first-time test takers out of Madera Community College have a 93.2% pass rate. Since the program began in 2011, the Madera student pass rate from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has been between 92% and 100% for first-time test takers.
Annually, Madera Community College graduates an average of eight students from the program, as reported by the Nursing Schools Almanac. Director of Nursing at Madera Community College Kimi Kato-Gee said that number is actually closer to 10 or 12, which is the maximum number that the college is approved for by the Board of Registered Nursing.
Madera, though smaller than many ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) programs, sits atop several Southern California and Central Valley competitors with graduating classes upwards of 100.
Other colleges in the area on the list include West Hills College in Lemoore at No. 50, Porterville College at No. 54, College of the Sequoias in Visalia at No. 56, Gurnick Academy in Fresno at No. 80, Fresno City College at No. 83 and San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia at No. 86.
Fresno State ranked No. 21 on the Nursing Schools Almanac’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in California.
Though Madera Community College’s cohort is small, most graduates – about 95%– end up staying in the Central Valley. Kato-Gee said that she feels the program is doing its part in alleviating the nursing shortage in the Valley.
Kato-Gee said they encourage the licensed vocational nurse graduates to continue on to receive their Bachelor degrees.
“We like the smaller class sizes, it gives us the ability to provide individualized instruction,” Kato-Gee said.
Students can more easily communicate with the instructors.
She is hoping to increase graduate numbers for the upcoming year as the college will be opening its new skills lab with new equipment. The facility is supposed to be completed in fall 2022.
“I’m hoping we’re going to be able to at least double our program when that part of the campus opens up,” she said.
The college managed to maintain face-to-face instruction since July 2020 in order to increase student success. Students have been able to maintain social distancing throughout instruction. This is now the college’s third cohort it has taught during the pandemic.
“We are very proud of our nursing program and the impact our students and graduates are making in the community,” said President Ángel Reyna. “We are fulfilling our mission and meeting a critical need in our region through the nursing program.”