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Why is Wytheville so confident in facing its many challenges?

Jul 28, 2022, 10:11 AM
<6.75-min. read> Wytheville faculty became so confident after partnering with ATI that they teasingly decreed all were getting “ATI tattoos.”

A nursing school partner provides resources and tools that make everything better

Wytheville (Va.) Community College’s Nursing Program faced a long list of challenges. Most concerning? A low pass rate that led to an upcoming accreditation review. Today, those concerns are all in the past.

Making a major decision was “a scary place to be” — but only initially

Karla YatesYou would imagine that having access to nearly all of ATI’s tools and resources would lead a client to jubilation — or at least a feeling of relief. Yet Karla Yates, MSN, BSN, RN, ADN, described signing up as a Complete Partner as a “scary, scary place to be.”

“When you look at the Complete product, it’s completely overwhelming,” she explained. “You know you’re signing a contract for a huge price point on your students …. And not only are you trying to sell yourself on it, but you’re trying to sell your faculty on it; you’re trying to sell your administration … I had to believe in the product to make it happen.”


Yates — Associate Professor in Nursing — gained confidence in making that decision with support from ATI staffers, Emily Davis, Integration Specialist Nurse Educator, and Meredith Towner, Client Executive. She said they guided her, explained the benefits of her new ATI solutions, and offered direction on how and where to integrate them into the curriculum. And, from the beginning through today, they have always — within 24 hours — been available to answer every question or need. With that knowledge, Professor Yates communicated the benefits to her staff and showed them how their new digital resources could lighten their workloads, such as no longer needing to record lectures.

“Anytime you can give faculty the gift of time, you’ve really given them something that’s of value. Because we don’t have enough time to do the things that we want to do. So, the products within ATI are really, really important to our success.”

In fact, she added, the time-saving benefits are what “pushed me over the edge” in deciding to sign up as a Complete Partner. The result? “You are probably not going to find bigger fans of ATI than my faculty,” she said. “We’re very pro ATI.”

Key outcome: Eliminating textbooks with resources in one spot

“We had used a bunch of different textbooks [and vendors],” Professor Yates said. “But students said they would get so lost in resources that they didn’t know where we were getting information from. And they didn’t know exactly how to use different tools. So, they really like that everything is in a one-stop place with ATI.”

Today, the program has eliminated all textbooks except for one.

Key outcome: Increased NCLEX pass rate

Wytheville challengesWytheville recently achieved a 100% (to date) pass rate on the NCLEX. Professor Yates still has some students to test, she said, “So I’m not celebrating that just yet. But still, I really attribute that to some of the things that we put in place with ATI.” What “things” in particular? Data-tracking tools.

She said she liked that ATI tools allowed her to “get a Pulse on an individual student from nationally normed tests and data.”

Tracking data is “huge” for making improvements with students who need help, she added. Her favorite ATI data resources:

  • Focused Review. This tool allows Professor Yates to make changes in a timely fashion by choosing specific categories and looking at them with different focused assessments. “That’s a really big deal,” she said. Side benefit: Professor Yates said that by continuously taking assessments, students could become better test-takers.
  • Custom Assessment Builder. Professor Yates said faculty initially questioned the decision to use Custom Assessment Builder simply because they wanted to avoid inputting their tests into it. Afterward, however, their reluctance changed to positivity, with many telling her, "Oh, this is going to be really nice when we get it done!" They’ve already been able to get better data on the back end of their regular tests to compare different things, she noted.

Key outcome: No increase in cost to students

Professor Yates’ initial reaction to Complete? “I said, ‘Your price point’s too high.’” But once she started to identify what ATI solutions she wanted, she realized Complete was better than her previous multi-vendor approach. She advises other schools to evaluate their resources and compare them to ATI’s offerings.

“You can cut costs in the long term,” she explained. “If you look at the products, if you do an overall cost of things that you think you have to have, there are probably things you can forego in favor of ATI.”

For example:

  • Textbooks. “You don’t need too many textbooks with ATI because of the content that’s available in its resources,” Professor Yates said.
  • Clinical compliance. No need for third-party vendors. ATI’s Program Manager handles that.
  • Simulation. ATI offers multiple sim solutions. Professor Yates especially recommends Virtual Clinicals.

Key outcome: Better engaged students

In the past, Wytheville instructors relied on recorded lectures for many of their lessons. Today, most have switched to using ATI solutions such as the Engage Series and HealthAssess. These tools are interactive, unlike assigning students to listen to a lecture.

“They’re actually required to engage with [these tools]. That’s really important,” Professor Yates explained. “You’re probably going to have a better outcome.”

Key outcome: Positive faculty

SOME INSIGHT ABOUT WYTHEVILLEWytheville faculty are particularly enthusiastic about ATI — and, apparently, persuasive. After hosting a data review across programs in the Virginia Community College System, Professor Yates was later called by another program head whose faculty had attended.

That woman said, “You know, your faculty pushed my faculty over the edge on ATI, right?"

Professor Yates replied, “Oh, no. I didn’t know that happened,” adding, “We’re big fans of ATI around here.”

The other program head then confided that she’d been unable to persuade her faculty to make a decision on a new vendor. “After they talked to your faculty, they went ahead and signed a Complete contract too,” she said.

And, then, there are those tattoos. Professor Yates laughed when faculty teased about getting ATI tattoos once the program achieved a 100% NCLEX pass rate. But one of her staff was jokingly insistent. “I’ve already made the appointment,” she said. “It’s going to happen!”


One aspect of the Complete Partnership that underscores its success at Wytheville is that Professor Yates and her faculty see their ATI associates, Emily and Meredith, as a part of the faculty.

Together, everyone problem-solves, teases out “crazy ideas,” and holds each other accountable. It’s helpful, too, that Professor Yates is so open to implementing suggestions and trying out new strategies.

The collaboration leaves Professor Yates confident about the future of Wytheville’s program.

“I feel like, with the right tools in place and the right people in place, we can only get stronger. It’s a good place to be.

Some insight about Wytheville

Wytheville Community College (WCC) is a public community college in Wytheville, Va. Among its current class of undergraduate students, 36% are full-time and 64% are part-time. 88% of its students are White, 4% are Black, 4% are Hispanic, 2% are two or more races, and 1% are of unknown race. The household income for about half of the college’s students is less than $30,000 a year. WCC offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree among its 30 academic programs. The cost per semester credit hour is $153 for Virginia residents, and $330 for out-of-state residents.



Numerous. Students were overwhelmed by too many resources, leading to confusion and inconsistent data on their performance. With NCLEX pass rates at 79%, a looming accreditation review, overworked faculty, and numerous “fires” in constant need of fighting, the program needed new resources and support as quickly as possible.


Becoming an ATI Complete Partner. New resources allowed the program to replace textbooks with digital tools on a single platform; new solutions improved learning; nationally normed data allowed for reliable student comparisons; and efficient customer service eased the transition.


Impressive. Educators have more free time to spend with students, and students are better focused on and engaged in their learning. Faculty are facing a review by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) with confidence after participating in a mock visit and gaining access to reliable data — data that also allow them to proactively manage negative trends in student outcomes. Plus, NCLEX pass rates increased to 100% year to date.