Nursing Class of 2019 Scores Big on National Exam

woman standing over a hospital bed with a dummy patient

Graduates of the nursing programs at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton passed a national nursing exam at nearly perfect rates. It’s the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)—the standardized test all nursing graduates must take before they can start working as a professional nurse.

The high scores are made up of graduates in the licensed practical nursing (LPN) and registered nursing (RN) programs, far exceeding the national and state averages. In the 2019 UACCM class, 95.9 percent of LPN graduates and 97.4 percent of RN graduates passed the NCLEX.

The 2019 class joins an established trend of UACCM students passing at a high rate—if not a perfect one—over several years. For the nursing program, the NCLEX is critical. NCLEX scores are a gauge of how prepared nurses are to enter the workforce, and passage rates are one of the calibers by which nursing schools are judged. Among graduates, the college’s high passage rate means better job placement opportunities. 

“If you graduate from this program and you want to work as a nurse, you can do that. People are happy to hire our graduates,” said Sarah Koch, a nursing instructor.

Among the reasons are the high standards that nursing instructors place on students. Graduates are prepared to be a nurse, Koch said, because instructors are straight with what the job entails.

“We make sure that they know their skills and understand the responsibility of being a nurse,” Koch said.

Another reason is the college’s simulation lab, an immersive classroom located on campus that transports students to what looks like an actual hospital floor, complete with hospital rooms, animatronic dummy patients, and updated equipment. The lab replicates real-world situations, designed by faculty members, which students might experience in their nursing careers. Instructors aim to provide realistic details, even going as far as putting make-up on the dummies to imitate physical symptoms of injuries or illnesses. Through these scenarios, students conduct exams on dummies and identify their course of action.

Students also go through clinical experiences, where students are placed in settings like hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes, to gain hands-on training.

Finally, Koch also credits the faculty for their dedication to students. “We’re so proud of these students. They are going to be fabulous nurses,” she said.

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