96 percent of Pirate Nurses pass 2014 exam
ECU’s College of Nursing saw 96 percent of its bachelor of science graduates pass the national licensing exam in 2014, according to an annual report received by the UNC Board of Governors.
Of the 233 members of the College of Nursing’s Class of 2014 who took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), 224 passed, according to the report, which the board received at its April 10 meeting on the ECU campus.
Passing the national exam is a requisite to receiving a license from the N.C. Board of Nursing.
“It is projected that North Carolina will continue to have an increased need for nurses,” said College of Nursing Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. “We are proud to not only help meet that demand for health care in our state, but also to educate graduates who are incredibly skilled, ready to lead and sought after. We prepare more new nurses than any other program in the state.”
Twelve UNC campuses have nursing programs. Of those, ECU had the largest number of bachelor of science nursing graduates taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. UNC-Chapel, which had 161 of its 169 text-takers passing the exam, was second largest.
The average 2014 exam passing rate for all 12 UNC system campuses with nursing programs was 92 percent in 2014, the report said. The national average was 85 percent.
The N.C. Board of Nursing requires that a nursing program’s three-year average of graduates passing the exam be at least 95 percent of the national passing rate in order to remain in good standing. Thus, the minimum passing rate for UNC nursing programs in 2014 was 81 percent.
ECU’s exam passing rate for 2012-14 was 95.5 percent.
Enrollment in the nursing program at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro was suspended by the Board of Governors last year because it did not meet the three-year minimum graduation rate.
In 2014, ECU had 706 students enrolled in its bachelor of nursing program, 412 enrolled in its master’s of nursing and 103 in its doctorate of nurse practitioner program, the report said. That total enrollment of 1,221 accounts for nearly 20 percent of the enrollment in all nursing degree programs at the 12 UNC campuses that offer nursing.
The bachelor of science in nursing is one of fastest-growing degrees in the UNC system, up 44 percent over the past five years. Since 2010, enrollment in UNC system bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs combined rose 30 percent.
Brown noted that ECU is quickly implementing a cooperative program with six community colleges in the region aimed at graduating more nurses with bachelor’s degrees.
An articulation agreement between the UNC system and the state’s 58 community colleges, adopted by the Board of Governors in February, assures that students who complete an associate’s degree at a community college will be awarded at least 58 semester credits upon admission to a UNC system campus with a nursing program.
Brown said ECU’s Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses, or RIBN, program is “providing an economically feasible pathway for students to pursue their degree.”
The articulation agreement “is great news as we work to continue providing talented graduates prepared for promising careers as tomorrow’s nurses,” Brown added. – Steve Tuttle