Speak to any nursing student and they’ll share what a challenge the national licensing exam poses and what a 100 percent pass-rate signifies.
“Stressful and nerve-wracking,” said Nora Ali, a recent graduate of the nursing program said. “But the program at Long Beach definitely prepares you to become a good nurse.”
This past spring, graduates of the School of Nursing at Cal State Long Beach achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX, a required examination for the licensure of nurses in the United States. The national average stands at around 87 percent.
While nursing education begins in the classroom, it is the clinical practice in hospitals, clinics and health care community agencies that is often considered the impactful part of their training. Following graduation, students’ education culminates in passing the NCLEX.
Melissa Dyo, undergraduate director in the School of Nursing, said the NCLEX attempts to capture the essential knowledge required for safe clinical practice for a registered nurse.
“It is designed to be a multi-dimensional, critical thinking exam that tests not only fact-based knowledge about chemistry or biology, but also complex, real-life scenarios that are unique to each patient”, Dyo said.
Dyo added that the exam isn’t easy and expects to get “harder and more challenging as they tap into higher-level thinking.”
Natalie Adame, a master’s student in the pediatric nurse practitioner program, admits that Cal State Long Beach’s reputation, along with its strong NCLEX pass rates, convinced her to enroll.
“They teach you to think like a nurse instead of just memorizing information. You want to be a nurse, and you’re inspired by your instructors and your clinical sites and you’re ready to get out there,” Adame said. “Then you have this test that is just very hard. It’s not trying to trick you, but it is not a straightforward test like you’re used to. The program does a really good job at preparing us for it."
Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the health care industry; attention and praise are not the reasons students choose the profession.
“My college experience was a little different than other students,” Adame said. “I was taking care of patients, waking up at 6 a.m. to go to clinical, staying up late writing all my papers.”
Dyo credits the school’s caring faculty for the students’ success rate. She said they look out for the students’ well-being and “are really good about helping students to understand that you have to be healthy yourself – not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually, so that you can help someone else.
“What makes you a good nurse isn’t your GPA or test scores. It’s how you interact with your patients, but how are you present in the moment with them, which helps them understand what’s really going on. We do it because we know it’s important work.”
Consider helping other nursing students fulfill their potential by giving to the School of Nursing.