Mountain State University Nursing School Loses State Accreditation


It has been like watching a train crash in slow motion. The outcome inevitable. The passengers: the nursing students…not sure how injured they would be once their world stopped spinning.  And now they know.

On the heels of a visit from representatives of the Higher Learning Commission sent to campus to decide whether the institution should remain accredited as a whole,  Mountain State University in Beckley, West Virginia, received more bad news signaling the end of its nursing school. On Thursday, February 18th, the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Nurses announced effective August 31, 2012, the MSU school of nursing will no longer be accredited by the state. 

The board placed the university’s nursing program on provisional accreditation in November 2010, and in December 2011, the board reviewed the accreditation after four nursing faculty members headed for the exit. Without such accreditation, the school cannot produce graduates eligible to take the national board examination for registered nurses. Loss of the accreditation effectually closes the school of nursing.

“Part of (the board’s) concern included the first-time passing rate of graduates that’s taking the national council licensure examination. Our first-time passing rates in those areas have been lower than the standard, tend to fluctuate, but are lower than liked,” said Andrew Wessels, public relations for MSU. True to form for a PR guy, Wessels lays it on thick enough that all around him need knee-high boots.

The Register-Herald out of Beckley, reports that Laura Rhodes, executive director of the board, stated that in 2011, 237 Mountain State nursing students sat for the National Council Licensure Examination and 141 passed, a 59.4 percent passing rate. Rhodes added that the state average passing rate is 80.57 percent and the national average is 87 percent. ” Our first-time passing rates in those areas have been lower than the standard, tend to fluctuate, but are lower than liked “….give me a break. ‘Pathetic’ is an adjective that comes to mind.

MSU was prohibited from accepting new students into the program already as part of the provisional accreditation placed on it by the state. The decision it affects 94 undergraduate students according to Wessels, who claims that the majority of the students will graduate by the August deadline. Students to graduate by that date will be eligible to sit for their nursing board examinations. The remainder are out of luck and must transfer to other nursing schools, in hopes those schools will even accept their credits earned at MSU, in order to complete their education. MSU has been instructed by the board of examiners to cooperate with, and assist, students who wish to transferred to other universities. 

Search “MSU” in the search box at the upper left of this page for our coverage of the Mountain State University saga. It began with a lawsuit filed by a former nurse anesthesia program student against the now defunct school of nurse anesthesia.  

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One Response to Mountain State University Nursing School Loses State Accreditation

  1. Charit Vinswyth says:

    Mountain State just announced that it was ending its nursing program. The interim president, Dr. Sours, announced this at a recent forum. The students in the nursing program have not been given accurate information about the status of the program for at least 2 years. Many of the students in other programs do not know that the entire university faces a loss of accreditation from the HLC. (To be fair, this is in some measure the result of the students’ not reading the emails that they receive in their student accounts.)