The most important thing you will do before nursing school.
- 1Feb 26, '13 by VanessaYoungI graduated with my RN in December and passed NCLEX two weeks ago. To future nursing students, it is so very important that before you commit your blood, sweat, and tears to nursing school, CHECK THE PASS RATE OF THE SCHOOL!!!!! This is the best way to avoid having to take NCLEX more that once. Choose the school with the highest pass rate.
- 2Feb 26, '13 by Jess6"Check the pass rate" is good advice. "Choose the school with the highest pass rate" isn't.
Very high pass rates tend to mean that the program is unforgiving, and students who are not very capable of passing the NCLEX don't graduate. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and many excellent programs function this way. But it may also mean that a less excellent program is riding on the performance of it's highest functioning students.
Look at the attrition rate. How many students start the program vs. how many take the NCLEX? If one program has a 100% pass rate, but 50 students start the program and only 15 finish, is it really a "better" program than a school with 50 students, 50 graduates taking the NCLEX, and a 98% pass rate? That's an extreme example, but there are definitely programs with a very high attrition rate that I wouldn't want to attend, regardless of how good the pass rate.
You also have to look at the size of a program. A small program may be excellent, but the performance of a single person is going to have a bigger impact on the pass rate than in a larger school.
It's definitely worth looking at the pass rate, and I'd avoid a school with a particularly low pass rate. Just keep in mind that a very high pass rate may means that you put in a lot of sweat and tears only to be forced to repeat a semester or get dropped from the program entirely if you aren't meeting standards set much higher than the NCLEX.
- 0Feb 27, '13 by Jess6Realistically, you probably can't in any official way. The school isn't likely to tell you that one. You can ask how many people they admit each class (or each year), and compare that with how many take the NCLEX (which, at least in California, is listed on the BRN website along with the pass rate). However, that will likely include some people who repeated semesters, so it won't tell you how many go straight through the program on their first shot. Asking students in the program will give you a better idea of how things go.
- 0Feb 27, '13 by chibiRNI agree with the above posters. I wish I would have known all this before choosing a school too! I graduated in December and too boards at the beginning of the month. I passed with the min # of questions, but looking back in retrospect, I wish I would have been a bit more judicious in choosing a better nursing school. I saw that the school's NCLEX pass rate was 99% and thought that was great...My class started at about 75. the LPN to RN transition students joined us about half way through (probably 20-25 students) and 50something of us made it to graduation. So out of my class of 75 only 30ish of us made it. The program was entirely test score based with a curved grading scale (94%=A, 75%=failing). If you didn't make the grade, you had one more change to retake the class but if you fail again, you're out for good. We were graded for completion in the clinical setting. As long as you showed up on time, did all of your paper work and managed not to kill anyone, you were in the clear.
I suppose what I'm saying here is that while book smarts is great, it not all that there is to know in this field. I felt that all my school wanted to do was prep us for NCLEX and send us on our way. I do not feel at all like I'm as prepared as I should be to enter the ground running as a staff nurse.
Talk to the current students. Hang around campus and approach the people wearing their ugly clinical scrubs. Most of them will probably be happy to give you an opinion on the education they're getting.
- 0Feb 27, '13 by StephalumpI agree with the above. Choose a nice balance between pass rate and retention rate, I think. 100% pass rate and 10% retention rate is pretty sketchy.
My school usually falls into the 90-96% pass rate range. There are schools who do better, but they can't beat our 90% retention rate, especially with a small class of 40 students/year.
Our professors challenge us and keep the bar high, but they're completely dedicated to ALL of us succeeding. We've lost two students so far. One who decided nursing wasn't for her, and one who failed out.