Nursing Dominates NCLEX Charts

Alison Counterman, Reporter

Recent nursing graduates have surpassed both state and national averages on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for the third year in a row.

BSN graduates achieved a 98.08% pass rate for first time test-takers, beating the national average of 82.07% and Pennsylvania’s average of 85.31%.

Grads also beat the averages at neighboring schools such as Wilkes University (72.58%), University of Scranton (86.96%) and Marywood University (89.47%).

When students complete their four years, they are required to take the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain a license and become a registered nurse.

The NCLEX-RN is a general, comprehensive multiple-choice exam taken electronically on the computer. The test can range from 65 to 265 questions.

Nursing department chairperson Cynthia Mailloux said the exam becomes increasingly more complex each year.

Mailloux said faculty change the curriculum to match what they national council and state board of nursing finds most important.

The board basically provides a blueprint that tells what the primary focuses on the exam are going to be, Mailloux said.

“Now what has increased the complexity is a lot of the test is prioritization and delegation,” she said. “The students not only have to know everything about these diseases but they have to know who they should see first and what medication they should give first.”

The exam is designed to make students solve problems and provide the best possible answer.

“It’s the higher-level thinking questions, and there are alternative format questions which means (to) choose all that apply,” Mailloux said. “You get one wrong, you get it all wrong.”

Since the NCLEX-RN exam is generalized, it reflects much of what students are exposed to throughout their four years of nursing education.

“When students graduate from here, they have been exposed to every different type of nursing,” said Mailloux. “They see it all, so they’re generalists, so to say.”

Although the graduates are excelling, Mailloux explains she does not want to solely compare scores with other schools.

“Let’s just celebrate our wonderfulness and not worry about whether or not somebody else didn’t do as well,” Mailloux said.

Senior nursing major Doug Ranson said he feels confident about taking the NCLEX-RN exam based on the previous class.

He said the faculty and facilities have prepared him, and the rest of his class, for the future. “We pretty much know all of the pro- fessors on a first name basis,” said Ranson. “We can contact them at any point, and they’re only there to help us and want us to succeed.”

The plan is to pass on the first try, and Ranson believes he will be able to do just that.

Mailloux suggests graduates take the exam within one to three months of graduation in order to study and prepare, and Ranson believes that is practical.

“Technically, with everything we’re learning we’re already preparing for the exam,” he said. “So I think within the three-month period, I’ll definitely be ready.”

Although the NCLEX-RN is generalized, graduates can choose the facet of the field in which they would most like to work.

“Right now I really enjoy working in the ER,” said Ranson. “That’s where I worked a lot over the summer back home. That’s definitely a place where if I can, I want to specialize in.”

There are also options for graduates who wish to further their education.

“We have a graduate program and we have a family nurse practitioner [Master’s program],” said Mailloux. “We’ve just developed our doctorate program, which will hopefully be implemented in the fall once the board approves it.”

Ranson said he wants to return to the classroom someday, but for now he wants to obtain a work experience to set a foundation.

Ranson had some worries at the beginning of nursing school.

“Initially I was scared out of my mind because I heard it was the hardest thing anybody could ever do,” Ranson said. “They were telling the truth.”

Ranson soon realized there was no need to panic because of the resources available to him.

“The professors are always there to help you. They want you to succeed,” Ranson said. “They’ll go that extra mile for you.”

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