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Nursing pass rates top state, national averages
11-20-12

Pass rate averages have been tops for 2 years in a row.
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 National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) 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 permanent certification, 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 98.3 percent pass rate for first-time test-takers who took the NCLEX-RN examination between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2012. Misericordia graduates surpassed both the average national pass rate of 92.07 percent and the average pass rate in Pennsylvania of 90.79. It marks the second year in a row that the nursing program’s pass rates exceed the state and national averages.

“In recent years, Misericordia University has invested significant dollars into technology, specialized instruction and labs for our nursing students,’’ said Cynthia Mailloux, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Misericordia University. “Our students’ pass rates are a direct reflection of their hard work and determination, and the university’s investment in our program. The program’s curriculum has also been revised in recent years to reflect trends in health care, changes in accreditation standards, and the integration of technology.

“The more rigorous standards are a sign of the times in health care. Nurses are tasked with added responsibilities in hospital and clinical settings, so the licensure examination reflects those added challenges,’’ Dr. Mailloux added.

The Department of Nursing at Misericordia University is housed in the John J. Passan Hall, which houses 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 also gain hands-on experience in two simulator labs that feature a full-size SimMan and SimBaby. Additional laboratory space is available to nursing students and all 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. Misericordia is regionally acclaimed and nationally recognized for its dedication to training imminently qualified practitioners in a myriad of fields, including health informatics, medical imaging, physician assistant, nursing, nuclear medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sonography and speech-language pathology.

The Misericordia University Department of Nursing also 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 at the fall semi-annual AACN meeting in Washington, D.C. in October.

The Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. The annual Innovation Award includes a $1,000 monetary prize.

“The members of our nursing faculty always strive for innovative ways to present key topics in nursing education,’’ said Dr. Mailloux. “Being a member of and having our students participate in the Northeast Pennsylvania Interprofessional Education Coalition Summit is one way we can help our students meet the Institute of Medicine objectives of collaborative and interdisciplinary health care initiatives.

“Our students get to apply relationship building values to learn how to work together as a team of health care providers in order to deliver safe and effective treatment over several disciplines,’’ Dr. Mailloux added. “In addition to this experience, Professor (Kathy) Sheikh also provides a second Interprofessional Education experience to our nursing and speech-language pathology students by introducing concepts of pharmacology to both groups of students.’’

The Northeast Pennsylvania Interprofessional Education Coalition is a regional collaboration of 14 colleges and universities in northeastern Pennsylvania that fosters collaborative relationships among educational programs in various health care professions, including nursing, physician assistant, speech-language pathology, medical imaging, physical and occupational therapy, and more.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, especially since they are our national accrediting body,’’ adds Dr. Mailloux, who, along with Kathy Sheikh, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., assistant professor, received the award. “The nursing faculty is dedicated to educating and developing clinically proficient nurses who also provide compassionate care to their patients and their family members.’’

AACN is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. Through various educational, research, federal advocacy, data collection, publications and special programs, AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education. It also assists deans and program directors to implement set standards, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research and practice, according to the AACN website.

For more information about the nursing program at Misericordia University, please log on to www.misericordia.edu/nursing or call (570) 674-6400. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 32 academic majors on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.

Caption:

Kathy Sheikh, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., assistant professor of nursing, left, and Cynthia Mailloux, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Misericordia University, hold the Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award that was presented to them by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing at the fall semi-annual meeting in October. Misericordia nursing students who recently graduated from the program surpassed both the state and national averages for pass rates on the NCLEX-RN exam for the second year in a row.