CINCINNATI — Erica Cooper just wanted to give her kids — and herself — a better life when she enrolled in the practical nursing program at Downtown’s Antonelli College.
She was so driven to complete the program that, pregnant at the time, she stayed for the remainder of class even after going into labor.
“I was determined to be what I need for my kids, and for myself,” Cooper said.
But now Cooper and her fellow nursing students aren’t so sure all their hard work will pay off, after the Ohio Board of Nursing shut down their program.
Now, Cooper and her classmates are demanding answers from the school, but say they’re not getting much.
Cooper thinks its because school officials “don’t care.”
And she could be on to something.
Earlier this month, the state nursing board revoked its approval of the program after failing to rectify a number of standards and requirements violations in the program during an inspection survey visit in 2014.
Among those violations listed were:
- Failure to “[maintain] resources, including but not limited to classroom and skills laboratory equipment and supplies”
- Inconsistent policies regarding transfer credit, specifically credit earned through military service and experience
- Progressing students forward in coursework despite prerequisites not properly preparing them
Antonelli nursing student Rebekah Johnson corroborated the report’s charge that the school wasn’t providing the necessary equipment for learning.
“We ain’t even got equipment for clinicals,” she told WCPO Wednesday. “We don’t have stethoscopes. We don’t even have books.”
And yet despite this apparent lack of resources, Johnson said, the one-year degree comes at a hefty cost: upwards of $25,000 including tuition and other expenses.
Now, following the state’s removal of its approval, some students fear their degree will be effectively worthless, despite that cost.
“We’re four or five weeks from walking across that stage, taking our in-clinics, being nurses, and we’re cut short,” Johnson said.
There is still no word from Antonelli about the program's fate now that it has lost its approval, or how students would be reimbursed for the degree courses they've paid for, if at all.
Antonelli College declined WCPO’s request for comment Wednesday.