Pass rates increase in Northwestern's nursing program

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Pass rates increase in Northwestern's nursing program

October 7, 2008

Under the direction of Dr. Carole McKenzie, associate professor and chair of Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s division of nursing, the nursing faculty have worked hard to prepare nursing students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a required test that has proven passing rates for the academic year have greatly improved from last year’s test results.

Students who graduate from Northwestern’s nursing program are required to take the NCLEX. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., (NCSBN) develops and administers two national nurse licensure examinations, one for registered nurses (RN), and the other for practical nurses (PN). The results from these computerized exams are used by the Boards of Nursing to test entry-level nursing competence of candidates for licensure as RN and PN.

McKenzie said after graduation it is imperative for students to pass the NCLEX to further their careers in the nursing field and to retain employment as nurses. Without passing this test, students are unable to become employed in the nursing field. It’s also important for Northwestern because those scores are kept for accreditation of the nursing program. In order to maintain accreditation with the State of Oklahoma, pass rates must be within two points of the previous year’s test results.

“We are extremely proud of our students and faculty in the Nursing Division for the pass rate they achieved this year,” said Dr. James Bowen, dean of the School of Professional Studies.

“NCLEX pass rates are closely monitored by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN). Nursing programs in the state must maintain acceptable pass rates on the NCLEX or face sanctions or possible program suspension from OBN. Northwestern has had difficulty with its pass rates in the past. That is why it is so gratifying to have done so well this year,” Bowen said.

The nursing program received five-year approval from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing in November 2007 and accreditation from the National League of Nursing through 2011.

Northwestern’s nursing program is now fully approved, and it would not have been possible without the partnerships with Share Medical Center, Alva; St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Hospital, Enid; and Woodward Regional Hospital, Woodward. These hospitals provided funding to offer the NCLEX review free of charge to students.

“Northwestern is a key component to providing quality health care to our region of the state,” said Dr. Steve Lohmann, executive vice president of Northwestern. “Many of our nursing graduates go on to work in the hospitals in northwest Oklahoma, and Northwestern is committed to providing highly qualified nurses for those jobs.”

“The support of the administration, faculty, staff and community has been tremendous,” McKenzie said.

To learn more about the division of nursing at Northwestern, contact McKenzie at (580) 327-8489 or