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UND nursing students get 100 percent pass rate on NCLEX exam

Kayli Jollie, a third-year nursing student at UND, stands in the Clinical Simulation & Resource Center (CSRC) on Friday afternoon. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald1 / 5
Nursing student Kayli Jollie uses a stethoscope to check vital signs on a mannequin Friday afternoon at the UND Clinical Simulation & Resource Center (CSRC). Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
Nursing student Kayli Jollie uses a thermometer to check the core temperature of a mannequin at the UND Clinical Simulation & Resource Center (CSRC) on Friday afternoon in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
As seen through an obervation room window at the Clinical Simulation & Resource Center (CSRC), UND third-year nursing student Kayli Jollie checks vital signs on a mannequin Friday afternoon. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
Third-year UND nursing student Kayli Jollie checks vital signs on a mannequin Friday afternoon at the Clinical Simulation & Resource Center (CSRC). Jollie is originally from Belcourt, N.D. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

After graduation, nursing students face one last hurdle before becoming registered nurses, the NCLEX exam.

Fifty UND students took and passed the exam, giving the school a 100 percent pass rate.

It's an accomplishment the nursing school is proud of, department heads said.

The NCLEX is a nationwide exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to determine if a nursing graduate has the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver safe, effective nursing care. Students are required to pass the exam after they graduate in order to continue their nursing careers.

The department is always proud of their pass rates and accomplishments as a whole, said Dr. Gayle Roux, dean of the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines and a professor. In general, she said universities want their pass rates to be in the 90s, which has been the case at UND for many years.

Even at a 100 percent pass rate, the school does not want to "become complacent" and always is looking for ways they can make students successful as possible, said Stephanie Christian, department chair and associate professor at the college.

The year-to-date national average for first-time testing on the NCLEX among associate degree nursing programs is around 84 percent, according to the National Council of State Board in Nursing.

In order to take the NCLEX, students must successfully complete an accredited nursing degree. They are tested on knowledge they would need as a beginning nurse and the test is revised every three years, Christian said. In order to pass the exam, students have to answer more higher level questions, some of which can have several parts that can become more and more difficult if they continue to get them correct.

There is a lot of work that goes into graduating college and nursing program already, but students have to continue to put in even more studying hours for the exam, Christian said.

"I tell students, what you put into your education is what you're going to get out of it, so if you work hard, it'll help you in the long run," she said.

There are a number of people who contribute to the success of their students, including advisors, faculty, clinical instructors, administrators, and especially the students and their families, Roux said.

Professors try to cover topics students are likely to see on the exam, and there is a practice testing structure in place in order to help students succeed as well, she said.

"It comes down to that the nation is trying to prepare nurses that are safe, can give quality care and be advocates for the safety of the public," Roux said.

Roux said the college encourages students to take the exam as close to their graduation date as they can because they retain more information that they have learned in class.

The student's success also is a reflection of the rest of the university, as students still are taking courses across the campus, Christian said. Clinical partners also play a strong role in helping the college prepare graduates for the health care workforce, she said. Students can take the knowledge they learn in the classroom and apply it in a clinical setting which can then help them answer questions on the exams.

"This accomplishment from our Nursing graduates is a tremendous example of UND's focus on developing tomorrow's Leaders in Action," university Provost Tom DiLorenzo said. "It serves as a testament to the quality of education our students receive in a profession in such high demand for the communities of our state and region."

Around 128 students graduate from the nursing program each year at UND, Roux said, with about half graduating in the fall and the other half graduating during the spring.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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