Graduates from three area nursing programs achieved pass rates that exceeded both state and national averages for first-time test-takers of the National Council Licensure Examination.
Recent Misericordia University nursing 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.
Misericordia graduates surpassed both the average national pass rate of 92.07 percent and the average pass rate in Pennsylvania of 90.79.
So too did those who graduated from The University of Scranton, which saw 92.41 percent of its first-time test-takers pass; and Luzerne County Community College, which reported 94.57 percent.
Though the two other area nursing schools in the region didn't surpass state or national average pass rates, they did increase their pass rates from 2010-11.
Wilkes University saw pass rates rise from 84.29 percent to 86.54 percent, and Marywood University saw rates surge from 72.73 to 77.78.
Both have seen pass rates rise steadily over the past six years. A few years ago both Wilkes and Marywood were on probation. Both have since been removed from that list.
Our continued improvement in our pass rates is directly attributable to our commitment to the success of our nursing students at Wilkes, said Mary Ann Merrigan, chairwoman of the Wilkes School of Nursing.
She said a faculty mentor is assigned to each student, and feedback indicates students consider that helpful.
Misericordia's nursing program is the oldest in the region and has made significant strides in recent years with upgrades to curriculum and technology on campus. Recently, the program was honored with the Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
The school has seen pass rates climb from 78.57 percent in 2009-10 to 88.14 in 2010-11 to the 98.3 percent pass rate the most recent test year. The chairwoman of the Dallas Township school's nursing department said the investments in the program played a large role.
In recent years, Misericordia University has invested significant dollars into technology, specialized instruction and labs for our nursing students, said Cynthia Mailloux. 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 increased test pass rates come at a time that the state Nursing Board incorporated new standards to the test.