The class of 2020 graduates of the University of Evansville‘s Dunigan Family School of Nursing achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The national average for the first-time pass rate was 87.5 percent in 2020.
Senior-level nursing students were halfway through their final semester when the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States. Despite the sudden change in learning formats and clinical rotations, the students adapted quickly.
“I was very impressed to see them maintain a resilient focus and push through adversity,” said Jerrilee LaMar, PhD, RN, CNE, chair of the Dunigan Family School of Nursing. “While they didn’t get to finish their studies in the classroom together or have a pinning ceremony, they did receive a high-quality education that prepared them for success.” LaMar also recognized the compassionate faculty that were instrumental in helping students along the way.
The Dunigan Family School of Nursing incorporates several strategies into the program to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN. Several years ago, the faculty developed a review course for seniors. In the course, students take practice exams that identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. The faculty, who serve as mentors, help students write individualized study strategies that prepare them for the NCLEX exam.
To encourage students to think like a nurse earlier on in the curriculum, the faculty also developed a course that strengthens students’ decision-making and understanding of complex issues to answer questions seen on the NCLEX exam. This course was piloted with the junior-level students, and the results were so successful that it became part of the required curriculum. Additionally, underclassmen are paired with a senior nursing student as an additional resource for help along the way.
“All of our 2020 graduates are now working as nurses in the healthcare field, and many of them are working with COVID-19 patients,” said LaMar. “We are immensely proud to see them applying their skills and passion to help those struggling most during the pandemic.”
Students at the University of Evansville shape powerful and enduring change. UE is the first in Indiana to be designated as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, and its changemaking culture empowers students to improve the world around them as UE Changemakers. UE has an array of majors in business; engineering; the arts and sciences; and health science programs. UE has a diverse student body that represents 44 states and 52 countries. U.S. News & World Report recognizes UE as the #4 Best College in the Midwest among private schools. For more information, please visit evansville.edu.