Joe Wyatt
Published October 5, 2020

In September, when the Texas Board of Nursing began piloting the use of virtual site visits for reaccreditation purposes, the first program to go under its remote microscope was the Vocational Nursing Program at Amarillo College.


Not only did AC exceed all the board’s minimum requirements, it wowed the evaluators, who granted the program reaccreditation for another six years “with no recommendations or requirements” – language indicative of a perfect score.


Additionally, the board expressed its intention to publish the essence of its first-ever remote program assessment in literature of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to serve as an example of a successful virtual initiative.


“It was a daunting experience that turned out very well,” LaVon Barrett, director of AC’s Vocational Nursing Program, said of the three-day virtual site visit. “They were especially complimentary of our students.”


In all, nine of AC’s vocational nursing students – four beginning and five advanced students – were interviewed and asked random, on-the-spot questions during the virtual visit.


“The evaluators went on and on about how well-spoken and how well prepared for patient care our students are,” Barrett said. “I’m so proud of our students and of our outstanding faculty who prepare them so well.”


That preparation continues to pay dividends for AC’s vocational nursing students, particularly where all-important national licensure is concerned. Of the 65 vocational nursing students to graduate from AC in 2019, 64 of them (98.46 percent) passed the National Council Licensure Examination on their first attempt.


Graduates of the AC program, once licensed, function as beginning practitioners in many different healthcare agencies including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, public schools and nursing homes. Amarillo College provides training for close to 70 percent of nurses who work in the Texas Panhandle.