Over the last few years the first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate for US educated nurses has increased: https://www.ncsbn.org/461.htm
The first time NCLEX-RN pass rate for US educated nurses for the first quarter of 2007 was 89.1%. The passing standard was increased on April 1, 2007 therefore a slight decrease in the pass rate is anticipated. Historically when the passing standard is increased the first time NCLEX-RN pass rate still remains at or above 85%.
The overall increase in the first time pass rate reflects the efforts of individual nursing programs to achieve the required benchmark for graduates writing the NCLEX-RN for the first time. The individual state boards of nursing and the national accrediting agencies require nursing programs to meet their stated benchmarks. This is the reason that most nursing programs have in place the use of external program curriculum support and student assessment described by doliveri.
I am on the prelicensure side of nursing education, in a state that does not allow for graduate nurse practice so I have no suggestions about employer alternatives for those who fail the NCLEX-RN. In my experience as an educator, post graduation NCLEX-RN preparation has to be priority one for the candidate. Although is is certainly possible it is typically only the exceptional, stronger graduate that can put little preparation into NCLEX and be successful. This means that NCLEX-RN candidates that were not strong students or test takers should probably not be in the process of orienting to a nursing position and preparing for NCLEX at the same time.
One of the keys to NCLEX-RN success is being able to successfully use critical thinking to answer the questions. Therefore one approach to use to help your graduate nurses achieve success on NCLEX is to incorporate critical thinking and NCLEX-style questions into your graduate nurse orientation as much as possible.
Doing a quick Google search I did find this reference, which may help you with your second question.
When New Graduate Nurses Fail the NCLEX: What Role Can the Hospital Play?
Journal for Nurses in Staff Development - JNSD. 22(4):187-189, July/August 2006.
Spencer, Janine A. EdD, MSN, RN
New graduate nurses employed at a hospital who have failed the National Council Licensure Examination are in need of guidance. They are no longer a part of the academic system, and hospital educators are often at a loss as to how to assist them in successful completion of the licensing exam. This article provides information on how to support and guide the new graduate during this difficult time.
(C) 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.