Texas A&M’s KSTAR Nursing becomes permanent program for Texas nurses

The A&M Rural and Community Health Institute and the Texas A&M College of Nursing team up to benefit health care workforce of Texas
August 17, 2017

The Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) recently approved the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute’s (ARCHI)  Knowledge, Skills, Training, Assessment and Research (KSTAR) Nursing Program as a permanently offered disciplinary option for nurses who meet certain eligibility requirements. This is the first program of its type in the United States.

KSTAR Nursing is a comprehensive program for nurses assigned remediation by the Texas Board of Nursing. The program, part of the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute and Texas A&M University College of Nursing started as a pilot project in 2013. It is designed to perform individualized competency assessment and provide targeted remediation to ensure nurse competency and make recommendations back to the board on whether the necessary benchmarks are met for remediation.

Traditional remediation routes center on standardized online educational programs and clinical exercises in a health care setting using actual patients. KSTAR Nursing is a more individualized option with a KSTAR Nursing coach from the College of Nursing who guides the nurse through the entire program. Additionally, nurses who go through the KSTAR program complete exercises with simulated patients in the Texas A&M University Health Science Center Clinical Learning Resource Center, a simulated health care environment that utilizes highly specialized instructional technology, rather than working with patients in the field.

“KSTAR Nursing is a more comprehensive way to look at remediation and re-entry to the workforce. The fact that this has become a permanent program is a testament to its success,” said Nancy Dickey, MD, executive director of the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute. “We’re proud to offer the expertise of the Texas A&M College of Nursing faculty for this program, and each individualized program centers on efforts to increase critical thinking and reduce the possibility of another infraction.”

In the four years that the pilot program has been in place, no nurses who have successfully completed the program committed another infraction.

Nurses who are eligible for the program as set forth in Board Rule 213.35 are those who receive Texas Board of Nursing approval and who have a board order against their license such as committing medication, documentation or communication errors—not criminal or substance abuse activity.

Texas A&M is also conducting research as part of the program. The goal of this research is to help set and meet benchmarks for the remediation educational process.

“In the end, remediation and the KSTAR program is about having the best possible workforce in Texas,” Dickey said. “Having nursing education experts and state-of-the-art simulation facilities brings the best possible scenario and experience for a remediation program. We’re very proud that this program will now be a permanent option for Texas.”

— Katherine Hancock

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