UNMC nursing grads score high on national licensure exam

Scores reflect quality of UNMC nursing program


It’s the most important test for those who want to be licensed to practice as a registered nurse -- the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The standardized test evaluates knowledge and skills to determine if the graduate is ready to practice nursing.

College officials say the pass rate is important not only for students but it also reflects nursing program quality and recruiting.

This year, 312 students who graduated in May from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing accelerated and traditional bachelor’s degree in nursing programs, achieved a 96 percent pass rate. The national pass rate is 88 percent.

Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, said she and the faculty are very pleased with the NCLEX score. “The faculty and students have been doing some tremendous work to yield these fantastic results,” she said.

Louise Laframboise, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the UNMC College of Nursing baccalaureate program, said the importance of pass rates goes beyond just showing how much students know.

“National accreditors, state board accreditors – all of the accrediting agencies look at your pass rate to decide whether or not they think you’re a quality. That is the most objective measure of program quality,” Dr. LaFramboise said. “The whole intent is to protect public safety.

“There are a lot of rules and policies that govern the practice of nursing,” she said. “We want to make certain students have the knowledge and skills they need to care for patients. Our faculty participate in clinical practice, and we also get feedback from our clinical partners on what is needed.”

Dr. Laframboise said credit goes to students and faculty and a variety of changes the college made several years ago, including raising the standard for admissions within the program, and increased use of simulation.

She said what exactly is on the test is not known.

“We teach them what they need to know to enter the current practice arena, which should be consistent with what’s on the NCLEX exam, because the exam is very focused on current practice,” Dr. Laframboise said. “The University of Nebraska has always had a top quality program and will continue to uphold that standard.

“Our expectations for clinical performance grow as the clinical setting becomes more complex. We’ve incorporated more simulation so students can learn in a safe environment when no one’s at risk. They can pause and ask questions which is sometimes difficult to do in the clinical setting. It’s another way we can keep growing program quality,” she said.