Western University of Health Sciences Master of Science in Nursing Entry (MSN-E) students recently made history when all 50 entry-level nursing students passed the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse (RN).

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is an examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States.

The 100 percent pass rate for these nursing students was a first in the eight-year history of the College of Graduate Nursing’s (CGN) MSN-E program.

“”The average national pass rate for the NCLEX exam in schools of nursing is 85 percent,”” said Mary Lopez, PhD, RN, OCN, CGN assistant dean and director of the MSN-E program. “”Our MSN-E program NCLEX pass rate has ranged between 90 and 97 percent for the last several cohorts. Last year our students achieved 98 percent.””

The MSN-E program accepts students who have a bachelor’s degree in non-nursing majors and have completed the required science prerequisites for the MSN-E program. Students complete four semesters of the pre-licensure training then take the NCLEX exam in December to become a registered nurse.

To celebrate students completion of the pre-licensure RN curriculum faculty provide a pinning ceremony, which occurred Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013.

“”The ceremony signifies that they are registered nurses and are ready to seek their first job as a registered nurse,”” Lopez said.

Students work as RNs and continue as distance learners for two years, eventually qualifying for their master’s degree.

Students knew 49 of 50 students had passed the NCLEX before the pinning ceremony because of Facebook postings, but were excited when CGN Founding Dean Karen Hanford, EdD, MSN, FNP, announced that the 50th student passed.

“”This is the first time in my 30 years of university education that I’ve seen students from a program obtain a 100 percent pass rate,”” Hanford said.

Lopez said these students will be excellent nurses and that from day one they were interacting with faculty, responsible and accountable for their actions, and always studying as a team.

“”I think our program is successful because of the fabulous faculty,”” Lopez said. “”It’s a combination of picking the right students that have an aptitude for nursing, using the latest teaching techniques to facilitate the students learning and having enthusiastic and effective faculty.””