Top of the class

The nursing class at RRTC had 100 percent pass the NCLEX. Kristen Howard, front left, Cara Storey, Rae Chele Lewis, Ashley Wolfe and Hollie Savage. Instructor Crystal Krey MS, RN, standing left, Sara Barnard, Carolyn Mackey, Michelle Hall, Elizabeth Baxter, Deonna Charmasson, Denise Harris, Pam Moiser, Crystal Graham, LaNell Taylor MS, RN, and Practical Nursing Director Earlene Werner MS, RN.

Individually, earning a perfect score on a test is quite an accomplishment. Collectively, for everyone in a class to pass a test speaks volumes not only for the students, but for their institution.

The Red River Technology Center’s nursing program has the distinction of being the aforementioned institution. Of the 13 students who took the National Council Licensure Examination, NCLEX, 13 became practical nurses.

Heading up the nursing program is Earlene Werner as the Nursing Program Director. Werner credits her staff for the testing success.

“I would say we really devote a lot of attention to providing individualized attention to every student,” she said. “We try to meet every student’s learning needs while they are in our program. I really credit the nursing staff that works here for their diligence and being attentive to each of the students needs.”

The program is a grueling program that spans an entire calendar year, beginning in July. The students are all adults.

RRTC has a history of excellence in preparing students for the NCLEX. Werner said the average pass rate for Oklahoma in 2009 was 89.43 percent. The national average for completion is 85.73 percent. The previous four years RRTC has out-passed state and national levels with 90 percent passing in 2008, 09, and 100 percent passing in 2007.

Not only do almost all of the nursing students at RRTC pass, they usually have employment lined up before they complete their course. Werner attributes the high percentage of job placement to the instructors and the clinical experience the students gain.

“When they graduate, they are ready to go to work,” she said. “In this day and age, with unemployment, we are happy to have our graduates secure jobs immediately upon graduation.”

The students get schooled, but in a good way. Werner said the graduates of the program are equipped to work in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors offices, clinics, and home health agencies. “There is a wide variety of areas where they can be employed,” she said.

Many of the students come from partner schools. Werner said many of the students go back to their community and offer their services.

“We have students come from a variety of communities, Waurika, Ryan, Velma, Bray-Doyle, Comanche, Marlow and Velma,” she said. “They may not all work in Duncan, but they are in the surrounding communities.”

Being used as a stepping stone usually isn’t too appealing, but Werner doesn’t mind. She said more than half of her recent students have ambitions to continue their medical education and endeavor to become registered nurses. “They are using our program as a stepping stone to achieve a higher level of nursing,” she said.

— David Laughlin is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 144, or via e-mail at

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