High Fail Rate for new Grads on Boards

  1. I work in East Texas and have noticed a alarming trend, our new grads are failing their state boards at a alarming rate (60 % from our local junior college). Moreover, all these new grads that were hired as GNs cannot be fired to make room for nurses that have passed their boards for a least 3 months ( when they retest).
    Is this trend national or local in nature? Also, as a preceptor I have noticed that many of our new grads are competent in clinical skills ,but have no idea of what is going on with their patients (disease process). Can I get some feed back and possible suggestions on what can be done to fix this problem?

    Thanks Jerry RN, BSN
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  2. 69 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    Very interesting observation, Jerry.

    On this bulletin board, quite the opposite has been discussed: that new grads are shoddy with clinical skills yet "overeducated" and failing the boards as well.

    I'll be interested to see what kind of responses you get here.
  4. by   CindyJRN
    Hi Jerry, I'm just across the state line from you and know about this topic first hand. I was an LPN for 12 years before completing my degree. I failed LA state board on my first attempt. Fast forward 2 years and our hospital is experiencing the same situation in hiring. We hired new grads from East Texas and Louisiana so I can't tell you if any program in particular was to blame, but several did not pass on the first attempt. a couple more failed the 2nd attempt. I don't have enough data to call this a trend, but am curious as to how the numbers look in other parts of the country.
  5. by   LauraRN0501
    All in my class (May 2001) passed, even the ones I was sure wouldn't! And quite frankly, I found the boards easier than any test I took in school.

    I think a blanket statement that new grads are shoddy in clinical skills, overeducated and failing boards is a little unfair. I'm interested in reading that thread as I haven't seen it.

    I do feel that my education was more focused on being able to pass boards, and I wish more time had been spent on disease process and critical thinking than writing a pregnancy journal or a self-realization journal.

    As for clinicals, I have learned, AFTER school, that there is a big difference in associate degree clinicals and bachelor degree clinicals. We have BSN students now, in their second semester of clinicals. I have to remember, when working with them, that they have a different focus than I did. Treatment and medication administration wise, they don't know anything yet because they spent their entire first clinical doing baths and the most basic care. In my first clinical, I was giving meds and hanging IVs. Not knocking either one, just outlining the differences. I do feel these girls may not have much clinical experience by the time they graduate as they get the same number of clinicals I did. Maybe that is an issue with the "shoddy" clinical skills, I don't know. Maybe it's also terror at realizing they are finally out in the real world and the buck stops with them! ;-)
  6. by   live4today
    I would have to question how well prepared these grads were to successfully make it to graduation in the first place. What were they doing, or what were they being taught during their college lectures, labs, and clinicals? Having 60% of all nursing grads fail state boards in any nursing program is totally questionable and uncalled for! 60%, folks??? I smell a rat here! Something's not kosher about this at all!
  7. by   LauraRN0501
    Jerry. is that a proven statistic?? That's really bad if it is. I can't imagine what they were being taught.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    Over the years have noticied some shools have different focus in educating students and clinicals. one well known Philly Ivy leagues schools students didn't want to do anything "too messy" as very theory emphasis. Another schools students had great hands on skills but little connection to disease process and theory, getting the big picture. Once those grads came to work in my facility, things evened out within 6 months.

    All schools are monitored for the pass rate--if it dips below 80%, usually put on probation. In PA, schools on probation are listed on the SBON website, and correction acttion plan done, if next time boards taken rates remain low. Approval by SBON has been yanked on few schools.

    I smell something fishy too with that 60% fail rate too Renee.

    Check out TX RN SBON re accreditation of schools:
    http://www.bne.state.tx.us/consumer.htm

    Nursing Education:
    http://www.bne.state.tx.us/rr215.htm#12
  9. by   Andy S.
    I a currently working in UT and have noticed our new grads (both BSN and ADN) having trouble passing boards as well. It is rumored that they changed the test year ago. Is this true or strictly rumor? I took mine three years ago and passed first time and I am by no mean a 4.0.

    Does any one know how to find pass rate stats for different universities and schools?
  10. by   VickyRN
    In my neck of the words, used to be pretty hard to get into ADN school. They only accepted 40 out of 280 applicants the year I got in (1994). Since then, according to one of my former ADN nursing instructors, both the quantity of applicants and the quality of applicants have dropped. The school is now accepting students they never would have dreamed of letting into the program just 8 years ago. Perhaps young women are now pursuing other options; perhaps all the bad press have turned off a lot of potential applicants.
    When I was in nursing school, our community college had the best record in the state for passage of the Boards--100% passage rate for many years in a row. That has changed also
  11. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by Healingtouch
    In my neck of the words, used to be pretty hard to get into ADN school. They only accepted 40 out of 280 applicants the year I got in (1994). Since then, according to one of my former ADN nursing instructors, both the quantity of applicants and the quality of applicants have dropped. The school is now accepting students they never would have dreamed of letting into the program just 8 years ago. Perhaps young women are now pursuing other options; perhaps all the bad press have turned off a lot of potential applicants.
    When I was in nursing school, our community college had the best record in the state for passage of the Boards--100% passage rate for many years in a row. That has changed also
    There is mounting political and social pressure to increase the numbers of students in nursing programs regardless of the type. Unfortunately the mounting pressure may be leading to the acceptance of marginal candidates for nursing education. The emphasis seems to be get as many bodies into the mainstream of nursing, regardless of quality and we will deal with the fallout later. As one of the aging nurses who will be taken care of by some of these marginal candidates I am saddened and indeed a little frightened. My personal observation (and it is just that, an observation) is nursing students at all levels seem to be chasing the job security and the potential for a steady income first, rather than having a real affinity for the work/profession. I see poor work ethics, poor work habits, less than desirable critical thinking skills, less than optimal concept of team work (but i see that from seasoned nurses too), less than optimal communication abilities, both verbal and written, and more need to be told how to do rather than to think about what is the optimal way to do under a given set of circumstances. I speak to these issues from the clinical perspective as a practicing nurse and from a faculty position as an educator. No blame is cast here, just observations.
    chas
  12. by   LauraRN0501
    Healing Touch,

    I think maybe you have hit the nail on the head! In my school, say 8 years ago, there was a LONG waiting list and you were lucky to get in. When I attended, they were taking everyone who walked through the door. There were people in my class that couldn't speak proper english or do basic math. Now, SOME of these people obviously didn't make it through, but some squeaked by. And I have to admit, there are people in my class that I wouldn't want coming near me with a 10 ft pole. But there are other people (I hope I'm one of them!) who are truly meant to be nurses and I'm sure are doing a wonderful job.

    I still think 60% is an awfully high number. That speaks of a problem with the education, not the individual students themselves.
  13. by   Yalonda1
    Well, my question would be, are these graduate nurses still working as new graduate nurses and getting paid a new grad salary? Here in Alabama, if a graduate nurse is working as a graduate nurse and fails the boards, then their temporary work permit is revoked and they have to work as PCAs or Unit Secretaries until they take the boards again in 3 months and pass them. They are no longer allowed to work as graduate nurses or get paid graduate nurse (new grad) salaries. If they do not pass the boards the 2nd time around, same still holds true here in Alabama, they cannot practice as a nurse (not even a graduate nurse until they pass boards).
    I also agree with the other posters when they say that something is fishy here-60% fail rate not only reflects on the students but the school and their curriculum as well. The way I was able to look up various pass/fail rates for different schools here in Alabama was to go to the Alabama Board of Nursing website and they have all of the statistics.
  14. by   LauraRN0501
    You know, I was told that if I didn't pass, I would have to work as a PSA until I did. What's up with working as a GN if you don't pass?

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High Fail Rate for new Grads on Boards