Nursing students post stellar licensure exam rating

July 19, 2018 / by / 0 Comment

Nursing students practice their skills on an interactive manikin.

By Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau

Grand Canyon University nursing students have posted another quarter of stellar licensure testing results, this time raising the bar to a 95.65 percent first-time pass rate.

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is administered to nursing students after they finish their prelicensure program. It is required before nurses can obtain their professional license and begin working as a registered nurse in the field.

The GCU College of Nursing and Health Care Professions’ second-quarter score brings the University’s year-to-date rate to 92.86 percent. That’s higher than the Arizona Board of Nursing’s year-to-date statewide average of 91.89.

“For the last year and a half we have made significant improvements in the overall operation of our prelicensure program, and that has come from hiring faculty and administrative staff with strong nursing experience,” said Dr. Lisa Smith, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions.

Smith said the college also has updated its program curriculum and has increased the amount of practice time students receive in the lab.

“All of those additions have really led to a solid, high-quality prelicensure nursing program, and that’s why we are seeing these results,” Smith said. “We also have hired an NCLEX Success Manager in addition to other strong administrative staff. She really works closely with the students and with faculty, as well, in helping students be as strong as they can in their preparation for that exam.”

NCLEX Success Manager Amy Leach says she has focused on trying to engage students to use their resources.

“We’re working on messaging and marketing what they already have in terms of books and review materials. We also help them to understand the importance of standardized testing and how to get the most out of their HESI (Health Education Systems Incorporated) testing so that they can identify their strengths and weaknesses,” Leach said.

The NCLEX is adaptive, meaning subsequent questions are dependent upon the student’s answer to the previous question. Students have no idea how many questions they will be asked – it could be as few as 75 and as many as 265.

The test uses a 95 percent confidence factor and ends as soon as that is satisfied or deemed to be unreachable.

“So it actually presents the students with questions based on how they’re performing on the exam to see if they are competent in key areas,” Leach said. “The students going in don’t know what they are up against, so giving them ways to practice and prepare to be able to take 265 questions is helping them.”

She said the college has integrated NCLEX principles into the curriculum to make sure students are thinking about the test well ahead of time.

Thus far in 2018, 196 students have taken the test and 182 passed it on the first try. That’s the highest number of graduates of any nursing program in the state, which is important at a time when the industry is facing a nationwide nursing shortage.

“We have very, very strong students that are coming into the program with high GPAs, and they are performing well,” Smith said. “It speaks to the quality of our program. GCU has a long nursing history, and we have always been very, very proud of the quality of our graduates. This year’s results speak to the return of a high-quality program.”

Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or [email protected].


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