Nursing grads ace national exam

Lesli Bales-SherrodGet Up & Go

For the first time, 100% of the nursing graduates at Pellissippi State Community College passed the national licensing exam on their first attempt since PSCC started its nursing program in 2011.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing released the results of the NCLEX-RN exam last week. All 70 of Pellissippi State’s spring 2020 nursing graduates passed the exam, which each nurse in the United States and Canada must pass to become a registered nurse.

Dean of Nursing Angela Lunsford, noting the college achieved a 99% pass rate in 2019, said, “I am very proud of our faculty, staff and students. They worked through a very demanding curriculum, put in 540 clinical hours during their program and graduated during a global pandemic.”

Lunsford also stressed the difficulty of the exam, which tests a nursing graduate’s ability to think critically, use clinical judgement and perform in a safe and ethical manner when caring for patients.

“The exam is a computer-adaptive test, so questions get harder or easier depending on how the candidate performs,” she explained. “Students are given situations and must use the knowledge acquired in the program to select the best response. These are not yes-or-no questions.”

Pellissippi State Nursing graduates Heidi Chisholm and Rachel Coar are among the spring 2020 graduates who passed their national licensing exam on their first attempt.

Another aspect of the exam that makes it challenging is that the test can be as few as 65 questions or as many as 245 because the test continues until the computer decides the candidate is safe or not safe.

“The candidate can finish in 45 minutes or they may be there for up to four hours, depending on how they perform,” she said. “When the computer cuts off, the candidate has no idea if they have passed. They have to wait 24 to 48 hours for the results.”

The national pass rate for those associate degree graduates taking the exam for the first time is 84%, according to NCLEX statistics.

Info about Pellissippi State’s nursing program here.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.


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