DCCC nursing program paves way for successful nursing careers

By Comfort Queh

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Theophile Tembe, a science for health professions major, tutors a DCCC student in the Learning Commons. Photo by Comfort Queh

Theophile Tembe, a science for health profession major, was born in Cameroon and has lived in the United States for two years. Tembe maintains a 3.74 grade point average while working part time as a chemistry tutor at DCCC and full time for the Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses as a home health aide.

“I want to know as much as I can know, to build my career,” said Tembe, who also attends DCCC full time. Tembe will be graduating in May 2018 and transferring to Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions on an academic scholarship in September.

Tembe was awarded an acedemic scholarship of approximately $45,000 by Drexel University, under the condition that he maintains a 3.5 grade point average.

“I feel [Drexel] is the right place for me to be,” said Tembe, adding that attending DCCC helped him save money and time.

Tembe is one of many students enrolled in DCCC’s nursing program who are eager to graduate in May and pursue their nursing careers by transferring to prestigious nursing schools to finish their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Every semester students go through multiple steps to compete for an entrance into the nursing program at DCCC. Since seating in the program is limited, admission is competitive.

To be considered for the program, students must complete the two-part application process, the first part being a general admission application that all DCCC students are required to complete for acceptance into the college.

Part two of the admission process includes a mandatory aptitude test titled “Test of Essential Academic Skills” (TEAS), designed to determine if students will be able to succeed in nursing school. Students are required to score a “B” or above on the four part component test to be considered for admission into the nursing program.

Once accepted into the program, students undertake an intense curriculum for four semesters to complete the program. The program combines clinical laboratory experience and hands-on practice.

Students are able to save money and time through the three different pathways available through the program, said Faye Meloy, dean of Allied Health, Emergency Service and Nursing.

One pathway students can take is the transfer route that Tembe took, whereby students take a majority of their general sciences and gen-ed classes at DCCC, then transfer to a four year university with their Associate in Applied Science (AAS), where they will spend two more years to complete a BSN.

Another pathway students can take is successfully completing DCCC’s nursing program to receive their AAS, then moving on to a Nursing Residency Program where they are able to practice being a registered nurse (RN).

Once successfully completing the nursing program, students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN, a state exam that allows the student to practice nursing, Meloy explained.

A third cost effective pathway available to students in the program is the ADN-BSN [Associate Degree in Nursing-Bachelor of Science in Nursing] enrollment program, a dual admission agreement that DCCC has with Drexel University.

“DCCC originally approached Drexel about the idea, thereby allowing other schools to pursue the program,” Meloy said.

Under this program, students in the nursing program are required to successfully complete all of DCCC ADN requirements while completing their BSN general-ed classes online with Drexel.

With this option, students receive approximately 40 percent off their tuition when they attend Drexel University’s nursing program.

All Drexel University students accepted into the nursing program are required to go through a co-op program, which provides professional and clinical work experience for students; however, according to the agreement DCCC has with Drexel, that requirement is taken care of when students successfully complete the AAS at DCCC.

Students like Tembe, Alyson Lyons, Marie Basilici and others, who are enrolled in DCCC’s nursing program, have all chosen different pathways to reach their career goals. Basilici and Lyons are both completing the dual admission agreement DCCC has with Drexel University.

Basilici, a wife, mother of three and returning student, will also be graduating in May 2018 after successful completing the DCCC nursing program. She will be attending Drexel University School of Nursing with only six more credits to complete her BSN.

“I was a little worried that going to an associate degree program would present a problem for me getting a job, but the way our nursing program is set up, they begin clinical hands-on work in the first semester, and that was really important to me,” Basilici said.

With this program, Basilici’s chances of being hired at any residential hospital after passing the NCLEX-RN exam are high.

“I really love DCCC,” she added. “I’m so happy I made the decision to come here.”

Lyons, 35, works part time at an Ace Hardware Store in Drexel Hill, while attending DCCC full time and attending Drexel University part time. Lyons will be graduating in May after completing DCCC’s nursing program.

“I would definitely recommend [DCCC],” Lyons said. “It’s been a great program, and the teachers are all great; lots of support throughout the whole program.”

After graduating, Lyons will be doing her residency at Geisinger Medical Center School of Nursing while finishing her six credits at Drexel to complete her BSN degree.

Eventually, Lyons would like to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

“Whichever paths you take you are going to become a nurse at the end,” Lyons said. “It’s a great program, with great staff and I definitely saved money because of the program.”

Contact Comfort Queh at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu