Misericordia nursing pass rates exceed state and national averages

Students train in Erwine Nursing Lab

Misericordia University nursing students who recently graduated from the Bachelor of Science degree program achieved a pass rate that was 16 percentage points higher than the national average for pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for baccalaureate degree students during the past year.

The NCLEX-RN was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to ensure the public’s protection. In order to receive a license to practice, a nursing candidate must pass an examination that measures the competencies newly licensed, entry-level nurses have to perform safely and effectively, according to NCSBN. 

Recent Misericordia University BSN graduates achieved a 98.08-percent pass rate for first-time test-takers who took the NCLEX-RN examination between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013. Misericordia graduates exceeded both the average national pass rate of 82.07 percent and the average pass rate in Pennsylvania of 85.31 for baccalaureate degree programs. It marks the third year in a row that the nursing program’s pass rates surpassed the state and national averages. 

The Misericordia University pass rate percentages are particularly significant since the exam was made more rigorous this year, as seen by a 10-point decrease in the national average for baccalaureate programs from 92.07 last year to 82.07 this year, according to program administrators.  The complexity of the exam also resulted in the state average dropping by 5.48 percentage points, from 90.79 in 2012 to 85.31 in 2013. The Misericordia University pass rate decreased just slightly more than two-tenths of a percent from 98.3 in 2012.

 “More rigorous standards are in place and represent a sign of the times in health care,” said Cynthia Mailloux, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Misericordia University. “Nurses face additional responsibilities in both hospital and clinical settings, so the updated licensure examination reflects those added challenges,” Dr. Mailloux added.

“Over the past five years, we have revised our curriculum to keep pace with the trends in health care and changes in accreditation standards. We have also invested significant dollars into technology, specialized instruction and labs for the nursing program. Our students’ pass rates are a direct reflection of their hard work and determination, as well as the university’s foresight and investment in our nursing programs,” Dr. Mailloux added.

In addition, the May 2013 graduate degree nursing students in the Misericordia University Nurse Practitioner Program also recently received a 100-percent pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Examination. The nurse practitioner program continues to provide high quality nurse practitioners to local health care systems. Consistent with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing report, Misericordia has developed a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program that is currently under internal review. Administrators expect to seek approval from the Board of Trustees in February for a potential launch in the fall of 2014.  

The Department of Nursing at Misericordia University is housed in the John J. Passan Hall, which is home to the College of Health Sciences. The third-floor suite features the state-of-the-art Erwine Nursing Lab and Classroom with eight hospital beds and high-tech bedside technology, including health-care informatics. Misericordia nursing students also gain hands-on experience in two simulator labs that feature a full-size SimMan and SimBaby. Additional laboratory space is available to all nursing, health science and medical science majors in the new Patient Assessment Laboratory in the Passan Hall Annex.

Misericordia University has the oldest nursing program in the area and graduates more students in the health sciences than any other college or university in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The university offers three undergraduate nursing programs: traditional, full-time nursing students; part-time accelerated evening program for adult students; and the RN-to-BSN Expressway Program. The undergraduate nursing programs are designed to meet the special educational and scheduling needs of adult and traditional students. They all lead to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

The Misericordia University Nursing Department also offers graduate nursing programs. The graduate programs are designed to meet the special needs of current BSN registered nurses who desire an advanced practice specialization as a family nurse practitioner. MU also offers a post-master’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner for nurses who already have a master’s degree. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education in health assessment, diagnosis and management of illnesses and injuries. Graduate programming leads to the Master of Science degree in nursing (MSN) and provides course work in a convenient part-time, one-day-a-week format.

The Misericordia University Department of Nursing has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), which presented the 2012 Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award to the program. The award recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. AACN is recognized as the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education and is known for its work to establish quality standards for nursing education through various educational, research, federal advocacy, data collection, publications and special programs.

For more information about the nursing program at Misericordia University, please log on to or call (570) 674-6474. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 academic majors on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats. 


Misericordia University nursing students who recently graduated from the Bachelor of Science degree program surpassed both the state and national averages for pass rates on the NCLEX-RN exam for the third year in a row. The students take many of their classes in the state-of-the-art Erwine Nursing Lab and Classroom that features eight hospital beds and high-tech bedside technology, including health-care informatics.