Today@Sam Article

SHSU Nursing Graduates Rank High In National Testing

July 31, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

Sam Houston State University’s May 2015 nursing graduates had a 97 percent first-time National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses pass rate, significantly higher than the 2014 Texas pass rate of 81 percent and the national rate of 82 percent.

It represents the highest pass percentage since the program took its first students in 2011.

Students take the exam, administered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, following graduation from a nursing program. Once they pass, candidates receive their licenses and permission to practice nursing.

“Helping our students achieve good national exam scores on the first try has been a major focus of our faculty,” said Anne Stiles, director of SHSU’s School of Nursing. “We’ve invested in test preparation programming, conducted faculty workshops, used more software to provide practice testing and to help develop critical-thinking skills—all directed toward applying best patient-care practices, communication and decision-making under pressure.”

Following the practice tests, the faculty reviewed the results to find out where students were displaying weaknesses, and they re-taught subject matter in those areas. 

“Faculty provided a one-day content review before graduation and a three-day live review by ATI Nursing Education, which offers standardized testing,” Stiles said.

“We have also increased the required number of hours in our simulation lab from 12 percent to 29 percent,” Stiles said. “The students love being in the simulation lab because it provides hands-on training, and we feel that the increased usage has benefitted them in strengthening their practical skills.”

SHSU students also have access to a large number of major Houston and suburban hospitals through which students complete their clinicals.

In addition to achieving the highest pass rate for an SHSU nursing cohort, 97 percent of the May 2015 graduates obtained jobs in a number of recognized medical facilities including M.D. Anderson, Memorial Hermann, Conroe Regional, St. Joseph’s Bryan-College Station, Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, and Children’s Hospital of Austin.

“Most of our students were hired in specialty areas such as the emergency room, operating room, intensive care, and labor and delivery,” said Stiles.  “It’s very unusual for recent graduates to be hired in those areas.  However, because our graduates have fabulous reputations and hospital administrators hear how good our students are, they have no trouble getting the jobs they want.”

Stiles also talked about the nursing faculty’s commitment to their students’ accomplishments. 

“They have been beyond dedicated to working with our students to help them achieve success,” she said. “They provided tutoring as a service without pay, and one faculty member even worked with several students after graduation. This was a team effort and everyone has done their part.”


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