Cape Cod Community College Improves Nursing Exam Pass Rate

WEST BARNSTABLE – Cape Cod Community College has received some good news from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

During the third quarter of the year, 94 percent of 2018 Nursing program graduates passed their National Council Licensure Exam on the first attempt. Eighty of the 85 students who took the test for the first time passed between July and September. Another two graduates passed the NCLEX exam on a second attempt.

The board had issued a warning to the college during the summer following two consecutive years of sub-par first time passing rates on the NCLEX exam.

The first-time passing rate for the college’s nursing program was 93 percent in 2015 before falling to 79 percent in 2016 and 69 percent last year. The college has traditionally had pass rate percentages in the mid-80s.

“Overall we are trending at a pass rate of 89 for the entire cohort of [2018] graduates,” said Dr. Patrick Preston, the college’s Dean of Health Services.

After receiving the warning, the college performed an intensive review of the nursing faculty, the board of trustees and administration.

“We all took a very deep dive to see what was going on and we instituted a variety of strategies and approaches to help students to improve those test scores,” Preston said.

Preston said the absolute commitment to improvement was systematic.

“We were all onboard in terms of improving our scores,” he said.

Preston said the college found that narrowing the time between student graduation and when they take the NCLEX had the most impact on student success. He said the school found ways to help students take the exam earlier.

“In some instances, it was simply more counseling with the students,” Preston said. “But in other instances it is finding out what would keep a student from taking the exam in a timely manner and that could be not having the resources to take the exam, which is fairly expensive.”

The college looked at finding ways to help students with bridge financing and support.

“We are delighted to have these numbers and we’re committed to keeping them up and to moving forward,” Preston said.

The school was required by the board to accomplish a series of tasks to improve the first-time pass rate. The college submitted a report to the board by the end of September and another is required by the end of January 2019.

The program remains fully accredited.

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