100% of Pellissippi State’s spring 2020 Nursing graduates pass national licensing exam

 Heidi Chisholm and Rachel Coar in scrubs
Pellissippi State Nursing graduates
Heidi Chisholm and Rachel Coar, from left, are among the spring 2020 graduates who passed their national licensing exam on their first attempt. This is the first year 100% of the College’s Nursing graduates passed the NCLEX-RN since Pellissippi State started its Nursing program in 2011.

For the first time, 100% of Pellissippi State Community College’s graduating Nursing students have passed their national licensing exam on their first attempt. 

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. 

“This is the first time a graduating class has achieved 100% pass rate since the inception of our Nursing program in 2011,” said Dean of Nursing Angela Lunsford, noting the College achieved a 99% pass rate in 2019. “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 NCLEX-RN, 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. 

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, Lunsford added. 

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.” 

Hannah Long, Andrew Cook, Jaleesa Grubb, Rachel Coar, Alicia Martin,
Pellissippi State spring 2020 Nursing graduates Hannah Long, Andrew Cook, Jaleesa Grubb, Rachel Coar and Alicia Martin, from left, wait to get their graduation photos taken.

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

“Our faculty and staff work closely with our hospitals and clinical agencies to ensure Pellissippi State students get the experience needed to be safe professional nurses,” Lunsford said. Our program is extremely rigorous and requires students to spend 20 to 30 hours a week on their studies. All of these factors are what makes achieving a 100% pass rate something of which to be very proud. 

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. echoed his pride in the College’s spring 2020 graduates. 

To have 100% of graduates pass the NCLEX in the best of times is an outstanding achievement. To do so in the midst of a curriculum change and pandemic is quite remarkable,” he said. Our faculty and staff did a wonderful job preparing the students for success, and our graduates have demonstrated excellence across the boardThey will serve as outstanding nursing professionals in our community for years to come.   

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Nursing program, visit www.pstcc.edu/nursing-pathway. 

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