Labouré College to Close Nursing Program in December, Appeals Decision

4 Min Read Published June 30, 2023
Labouré College to Close Nursing Program in December, Appeals Decision

As the ongoing nursing shortage continues, one Massachusetts hospital is seeing its nursing program shut down. Labouré College of Healthcare, a private college in Milton will have to close the doors of the associate degree of science in nursing (ASN) program in December 2023. 

In September 2022, Labouré was given an official warning by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN). According to documents, the school did not achieve an 80 percent first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam.

Generally speaking, nursing programs are given a warning and must create a plan to “fix the problem”. In this case, the nursing program would have to develop ways to improve their NCLEX first-time pass rate. This might include study programs, increasing the number of NCLEX-style questions on exams, etc. 

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On June 20th the BORN notified Labouré that it had voted to withdraw approval of the ASN program altogether.  The decision has been officially appealed by Labouré. 

A meeting is set for July 12th to discuss the matter. 

If the decision stands, students set to graduate this year may continue their classes and take the NCLEX, if the program continues to meet the requirements. First-year students that are currently enrolled in general education classes would have to find another program at a different school. 

After the notification had been received, Labouré sent an email to first-year students saying, “We do not have all the answers yet regarding how you will continue your studies, and we know this remains a stressful situation. Please know that we are working hard to understand BORN’s action and to develop plans that will enable you to continue pursuing your nursing degree.”

Interestingly, Kate Dwyer, spokesperson for the College, told Boston 25 News that “Labouré has made improvements and increased its NCLEX pass rate to 81 percent.”

“We disagree with this decision. So, we will be appealing,” Dwyer said. “We feel we have a strong case.”

Uncertain future

Students at Labouré are scrambling to figure out their next steps. Some are holding out hope that the decision will be overturned while others are looking for other options. 

Labouré is the oldest and largest associate-level nursing degree in Massachusetts. Roughly 1,000 students would be directly affected by the decision to close and have to find a new nursing program. Given the number of nursing students and programs within the state, Labouré believes it would be impossible for other programs to fully absorb all of the students, and in a timely manner. 

Nicole Daniels, a first year student only seven weeks into the program with hopes of becoming a NICU nurse, told Boston 25 News, “I was in class, I was doing really well, and then this just hit us last week, and I was just devastated. This has been my lifelong dream, and it’s so difficult that it’s been taken away from me just so quickly.”

Image: Nicole Daniels

“There’s a nursing shortage right now,” Daniels continued. “We really need these nurses. And these are quality people that really want to be out there, and they have a passion for nursing.”

Labouré  has notified students that tuition for the fall semester will be refunded if the decision is not overturned but there will not be a refund for classes already taken. It continued by telling students that transferring credits will ultimately be up to the program they are transferring into and nothing is guaranteed. 

Statement from Labouré

Labouré released an official statement on June 23rd after being notified of the decision. 

“We believe our case for appeal is strong and persuasive. Labouré’s program was placed on warning by BORN in September 2022 for not meeting the threshold of an 80% first-time pass rate in the NCLEX exam. Upon being placed on warning, significant steps were taken to assist our students. The cohort of students who graduated in December 2022 and took the NCLEX passed at a rate of 81%. Self-reported results for students who graduated in Spring 2023 also indicate an 81% passage rate. Official results will be available at a later date. The improvements made to the Labouré ASN program are measurable, and they are having a direct impact on student success.

For our students, their degree is transformative. Our average student age is 35. Our students juggle multiple responsibilities, including work, raising children, going to school, and studying in order to improve their lives and those of their families. 63% live at or are approaching the federal poverty line. 51% are raising young children. Over 50% are currently working in Greater Boston as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), nurse aides, and medical assistants. For these students this degree breaks the cycle of poverty, impacting generations.

Almost all of our ASN students are Massachusetts residents - they are rooted in our local communities and their diversity directly mirrors Boston’s patient population. 67% of our students are people of color, and over 35% are multilingual. These attributes address the critical need for diversification of a predominantly white nursing labor pool on a greater scale than any competing nursing program in New England. Many are new to this country. They are hardworking adults who bring to their profession a maturity, cultural competence, dedication, and compassion that is unmatched.

Since 2019, through the pandemic, 998 associate level nurses have graduated from Labouré and passed their NCLEX exam to become Registered Nurses (RNs). So far in 2023, the College has produced 102 RNs.”

Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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