NEWBERRY — The Newberry College Department of Nursing today announced its spring 2018 graduates have achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rateon the NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX-RN is a standardized exam given by the South Carolina Board of Nursing to assess the readiness of new nursing graduates to enter the nursing profession.
“We implemented strategies at the beginning of the academic year to raise our first-time pass rate to 90 percent or better,” said Betsy McDowell, Ph.D., RN, CNE, ANEF, chair of the Newberry College Department of Nursing. “It is gratifying to see our plan so quickly yield an even better than expected result.”
The state Board of Nursing uses the first-time pass ratein its assessment of nursing programs. Although Newberry’s overallpass rate for the NCLEX-RN was 92 percent (higher than the state average), its first-time pass rate had dropped in 2016 and 2017, which raised concerns.
Developing A Treatment Plan
Newberry College administrators presented a performance improvement plan to the state Board of Nursing, with the goal of achieving 90 percent or better for the first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN.
Newberry partnered with ATI Nursing Education, a nationally recognized test preparation expert, to provide regular content reviews focused on helping students apply their cumulative nursing knowledge and offer supplemental instruction to better familiarize students with the unique testing environment of the NCLEX-RN exam. Newberry also provided one-on-one support for students needing additional help on specific subject matter.
“Our senior students faced a number of program changes aimed at improving their preparedness for the licensure exam,” said Newberry College president Dr. Maurice Scherrens. “They consistently went above and beyond, responding to every additional task or assignment in a positive and professional manner to achieve an unprecedented 100 percent first-time pass rate. I am greatly impressed by their focus and perseverance throughout the year to achieve this goal.”
Working The Plan
Kayla Alewine, one of the spring 2018 Nursing graduates responsible for achieving the 100 percent first-time pass rate, said she and her classmates understood the importance of performing well on the NCLEX and knew what they needed to do to achieve that result.
“I speak on behalf of the whole class when I say that we would not be where we are today without our professors pushing us, administrators supporting us and all of them giving us continuous encouragement,” said Alewine, who starts her new job at Palmetto Health on July 30 working as an RN in the Critical Care Residency. “I knew we could do this and I am glad we were able to be the first Newberry class to conquer the NCLEX with a 100 percent first-time pass rate.”
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sid Parrish, Jr., also praised the Nursing faculty for their efforts in creating a strong action plan for improvement.
“Our Nursing faculty did an outstanding job working with ATI to research best practices and implement an action plan that has exceeded our expectations,” Parrish said. “We have an excellent Nursing program at Newberry College that is now even stronger thanks to their efforts. With these changes now a permanent part of our program, we are confident that upcoming classes will continue to achieve this same level of success on their licensure exams.”
Focusing On Future Growth
Although Nursing is a relatively new program at Newberry College (the first class started in 2009), it has proven to be an enormously popular program that has operated at maximum capacity for several years.
In 2016, Newberry College expanded its pre-licensure Nursing program to increase by one third the number of candidates admitted to the major. The program expanded from 24 students to 32 students admitted per year and began offering program starts in both fall and spring semesters.
Building on the success of its traditional program, the RN-to-BSN Completion program was among the first adult degree-completion programs the College offered when it launched Newberry Onlinein 2017.
The Nursing program also is a primary focus of the College’s recent fundraising initiatives. Construction of a new Nursing facility is the top priority of Newberry’s Scaling the Summitcapital campaign.
About Newberry College
Founded in 1856 by the Lutheran Church, Newberry College is a private, residential college with a diverse student population. Newberry appears in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings for regional colleges in the South: Best Colleges (#17); Best Value (#7); and Least Debt at Graduation (#3). Newberry College offers baccalaureate degrees in 32 majors, 29 minors, 31 areas of concentration and 10 pre-professional programs, as well as online degree-completion programs. The College offers 20 NCAA Division II sports, cheerleading and dance. Newberry College is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the National Association of Schools of Music. For more information, go to www.newberry.edu