ETSU nursing students score high marks on licensure exams

Published 10:22 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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East Tennessee State University College of Nursing students celebrated a 90% first-time pass-rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) last year, a pass-rate higher than the national average and their highest mark in five years. 

In the first quarter of 2024, the college’s NCLEX pass rate was even higher at 97%. 

As the largest college of nursing in Tennessee, ETSU is training more nurses to enter the workforce than any other institution in the state, with more than 500 graduates taking the NCLEX in 2023. That total is more than double that of the next largest school in Tennessee, which had 239 first-time test-takers.   

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Tennessee as a whole ranked in the top 15% for NCLEX pass rates across all types of nursing, and in the top 8% for BSN programs – a direct reflection of the high-quality nurse education taking place across the state and at ETSU.   

Nationally, the pass rate for first-time test-takers was 88.56%.   

And despite significant changes made to the NCLEX in April 2023, the college’s faculty and staff continued to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to pass their examination and enter a workforce in severe need of more nurses.   

“We are the biggest school in the state, we know that pipeline is so important,” said Dr. Katherine Hall, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Nursing and interim chief nursing administrator.   

Hall said a lot of effort has been put in behind the scenes by faculty and staff to enhance the student experience and improve learning outcomes, ultimately crediting the college’s culture of focusing on student-centered learning.   

“I have no doubt we have the skill set and the capability to be the best school in Tennessee and even the best school in the nation,” said Hall.   

“This is an incredible accomplishment for our students, faculty and staff in the College of Nursing, and I could not be prouder of their efforts,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, interim dean of the College of Nursing and dean of the ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. “Because we are the largest college of nursing in Tennessee, it is critically important that we are training our students to be practice-ready to meet the demand for more nurses nationwide.”