School of Nursing Grads Achieve 100% Pass Rate on RN Licensure Exam

April 09, 2012

"Now we can say that we have truly achieved perfection in this area, and we think this speaks volumes about our faculty, students, and the support we foster here.."

The University of Rochester School of Nursing officially learned today that every one of the 53 men and women who graduated in December from its accelerated bachelor’s degree program for non-nurses (APNN) has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX). The students were all enrolled in the APNN cohort that began in January 2011 and concluded in December 2011.

Although the NCLEX pass rate for the School’s APNN graduates has consistently been above 90% for several years, this is the first time that an entire cohort has achieved a 100% pass rate since the program began ten years ago. At nursing schools here and across the country, achieving a 100% pass rate on the licensing exam is uncommon regardless of enrollment size, but is especially rare in nursing schools with cohorts of more than 50 students. The School has also received word that at least 70% of its December graduates are already employed as nurses; the majority of them in the Rochester area.

The School of Nursing’s NCLEX pass rate for 2011 is 94%, which is currently the highest of any APNN baccalaureate program in the state.  The most recently released statistics will be reported as part of 2012 figures.

“One of the first questions prospective nursing students ask us is what our NCLEX pass rate is, and we have always been able to say with great pride that we have one of the highest rates anywhere,” said School of Nursing Interim Dean Kathy H. Rideout, EdD, PNP-BC, FNAP. “But now we can say that we have truly achieved perfection in this area, and we think this speaks volumes about our faculty, students, and the support we foster here.”

Under the direction of assistant professors of clinical nursing Elaine M. Andolina, MS, RN, and Joanne V. Clements, MS, RN, ACNP, the three-semester, 12-month APNN accepts students who already have bachelor’s degrees in other fields, and prepares them for RN licensure through rigorous academic coursework and clinical experience. The School of Nursing accepted its first class of 22 APNN students in May 2002, and today enrolls more than 168 students across three cohort admission cycles. Since its beginning, the highly selective program has attracted men and women of varied cultural, professional and socioeconomic backgrounds from virtually every state. The program has received four consecutive rounds of scholarship funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program to support its efforts to develop a diverse nursing workforce and a pipeline of nurse clinicians, faculty, researchers, and leaders well-prepared to meet projected health care needs.

Rideout attributes the most recent NCLEX success to a combination of factors.

“The School is in the fortunate position of being able to select from a very bright, ambitious, and high-achieving pool of applicants who have a strong desire to become nurses and strengthen the profession,” she said. “But equally important is the fact that we have outstanding faculty, cohort coordinators, and advisors who give our students a high level of personal attention to ensure their progression, and we are able to ramp up support quickly if it’s needed." 

Rideout added that students also have access to a comprehensive range of academic support services and resources through the School's  Center for Academic and Professional Success , which opened in January with partial funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Program. The center helps students across all programs and levels develop learning strategies, study habits, test-taking skills, critical thinking abilities, time management, and career management skills that are pivotal to their academic performance and professional advancement.

"We’ve been consistently expanding our support services for several years based on student needs, and it is rewarding to see the results of these efforts now," she said. "Our faculty has always had a natural commitment to building relationships, mentoring and encouraging students toward their highest goals. We'll continue to build on our success so we can lead the way in preparing the next generation of nurses.”

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Christine Roth
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