Nursing school on probation

The University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies was put on probation by the State of Florida’s nursing board after scoring low on professional exams and “cheating issues” reported by the university.

According to the state’s Program Evaluation Site Visit Report, obtained from The Miami Herald’s website, only 72.9 percent of UM nursing students passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The board’s standard is 10 percent below the national average, or 79.06 percent.

Laurie Reinhardt-Plotnik, the nursing school’s director for development, said the NCLEX is updated every four years, and the recent dip can be credited to the change in the test.

The document also included reports of cheating on nursing exams. The university has responded by installing cameras in every classroom which can watch every student during an exam.

“This has been in the pipeline for many years,” Plotnik said of the issues. “Dean [Nilda] Peragallo was brought in by the administration to deal with these problems.”

Enrollment has doubled since 2003, in an attempt to deal with a nationwide nursing shortage. The attempt to expand apparently backfired, as infrastructure wasn’t in place, and the school struggled to deal with the new students. The report criticizes the university for using too many part-time faculty members.

The school, founded in 1948, was South Florida’s first baccalaureate nursing program. The M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing and Health Studies, which now houses the school, opened at the beginning of the semester.