NCLEX Pass Rates in Utah
The Utah State Board of Nursing recently released the 2015 NCLEX-RN pass rates for Utah. Before we delve into the results, here’s a little refresher for context.
There are many critical metrics used to monitor how well a school is doing. For a nursing college, one of the best indicators of success is the percentage of students who pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) the first time they take it.
Consisting of 75 to 265 questions, the NCLEX is the standardized exam each state board of nursing uses to determine if a candidate is prepared for entry-level practice as a registered nurse. Even if you earn your degree from an accredited nursing program, you are not considered a licensed registered nurse until this milestone is achieved. Needless to say, it’s kind of a big deal!
Here’s how Ameritech students performed in 2015:
Third-highest NCLEX pass rates in Utah
Highest NCLEX pass rates among schools with more than 50 candidates
Highest ranked associate degree nursing program
Only ADN program in the top 5
10.8% percentage points above the national average
Here’s a breakdown of how all nursing programs in Utah performed:
So what’s the secret sauce? Although there is no one “right way” to produce high NCLEX pass rates, there are a number of factors that influence the success rate. Here’s what works for us:
1. Find great students
Having a good nursing program starts first and foremost with attracting outstanding nursing student candidates. At Ameritech, we pride ourselves in operating a nursing program with no wait lists. However, this does not mean that everyone gets in. Each semester we review our batch of applicants to determine who best fits within our program. Of course we consider academics: Can the applicant stand up to the rigors of our program? But we also look at emotional and personality characteristics: Can this person stand up to the rigors of the nursing profession?
Most semesters we have more qualified applicants — meaning those who we feel are a great fit for our program and the nursing profession — than we can accept. Like all nursing programs, our capacity is limited to the availability of on-site clinical spots. For those who qualify but can’t fit in a particular cohort, we suggest that they wait until the following semester. This, coupled with our strong student referrals, keeps our prospective “future nurse” pipeline stocked with fantastic candidates.
2. Surround students with great faculty/curriculum
Now that the best talent is enrolled, we focus our attention on immersing our students into the program. In addition to didactic education, our nursing program includes rigorous hands-on training that simulates what a nurse will likely experience during their career. We focus on hard and soft skill development with repetition and review sessions so our students refine their skills before their first clinical rotation.
This process was not developed overnight. In fact, it has taken years of iteration to get to the point where we are now experiencing such high NCLEX pass rates year-over-year. It started by hiring and retaining outstanding faculty. As a best practice, we don’t hire professional educators. We hire nurses with real world experience so they can, in turn, pass their knowledge onto our students. Top-notch students surrounded by excellent curriculum and faculty is a recipe for success. For our post-licensure RN-BSN degree completion program, we carry this same theme by hiring PhD-prepared nurse leaders.
3. Support, support, support
Simultaneously, we commit ourselves to providing strong student support. Because our nursing program is only 19 months, we throw a lot at our students in a condensed period of time. This means that our students need to be committed, patient, and resilient — similar to the traits they’ll need in their nursing career. Our dedicated student support team is available to give advice, provide guidance, or simply listen if a student needs to vent for a bit. If you’ve gone through nursing school, you certainly understand a meltdown or two is bound to happen. Our student support team is the heart of our college.
4. Intensive test prep
Lastly, now that our students are equipped with the hands-on training and real-world experiences needed to be confident and competent nurses, we provide them with a single course dedicated entirely to the NCLEX examination. For most of our students, the NCLEX represents the most important exam they have ever taken. However, regardless of how well you know the material, some students simply struggle with taking tests. In our NCLEX course, we rehash most of what they’ve learned through the previous semesters and dive into strategies related to taking (and passing) the NCLEX. Cheryl and Britt, the authors of our popular NCLEX Wednesday blog series, are always up-to-date on changes and trends with the examination, so our students are ready for whatever is thrown their way.
We’re thrilled about our 2015 results and would like to thank our students, faculty, and staff for their hard work and dedication. We would also like to congratulate all of the other nursing programs in our state that helped achieve NCLEX pass rates in Utah higher than the national average. The supply of competent nurse graduates is critical to the success of the healthcare sector. We’re honored to be a part of it.
If you’re interested in a career as a registered nurse and would like to discuss our program in more detail, reach out us. As always, we’d love to hear from you!
If you’re a nursing student who is preparing to take the NCLEX, we wrote a free ebook just for you! You can download it here. #ATCpride