2021 2021: College of Nursing & Health Sciences Class of 2020 achieves a 95% pass rate on national licensure exam
College of Nursing & Health Sciences Class of 2020 achieves a 95% pass rate on national licensure exam

Students who completed their degrees at the start of the pandemic exceed the national average on NCLEX exam

2020 NCLX pass rate story

Graduates of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences continue their winning streak as the most recent graduating class has exceeded the national average on the NCLEX exam for the fourth consecutive year.

Official results released yesterday indicate that both traditional Bachelor of Science (BS) nursing students and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree students in UMass Dartmouth’s Class of 2020 have both scored a 95% pass rate on the national licensure exam. Students took the exam for the first time shortly after earning their nursing degrees.

This year’s national average for bachelor of science degree students who took the exam for the first time during the first through third quarters of 2020 is 91% while the average for ABSN students is 93%. This is the fourth consecutive year that graduates of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences have exceeded the national average for first-time test takers on the licensure exam.

"I am extremely proud of our recent graduates who exhibited such determination and flexibility in completing their degrees during these unexpected and unusual circumstances,” said College of Nursing & Health Sciences Dean Kimberly Christopher. “Once again, our students have demonstrated the rigor and success of our nursing program with a collective NCLEX pass rate of over 90%, exceeding the national average. This is a reflection of their efforts as well as the hard work of the entire College of Nursing & Health Sciences."

The UMass Dartmouth nursing major curriculum meets state educational requirements for professional licensure in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Graduates of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences traditionally assume clinical positions in hospitals and healthcare centers or continue their education in nursing graduate programs. 

“This was a huge success,” added Assistant Dean Karen Barnett. “Not only did students graduate on time, but our first time NCLEX pass rate remained high at 95%. This outstanding accomplishment is a direct result of the excellent students, faculty, and staff in our nursing program. Accomplishing this feat in the middle of a pandemic is a testament of their dedication to excellence. It highlights the rigor of our program, as well as our commitment to engaged learning.”

As the Covid-19 pandemic spread through the U.S. last spring, UMass Dartmouth switched to remote learning along with most colleges and universities, requiring students and faculty to quickly adapt from in-person to online classes to complete their degrees. This was particularly challenging for the CNHS as nursing students require practicum classes and clinical experiences. 

"I was extremely proud of the way our students handled the stress of the pandemic,” added Barnett. “They spent four years in this rigorous program and were just weeks from completion when the pandemic hit. The students remained calm and waited for guidance on how they would complete the final requirements, including clinical hours, coursework, and projects, and finally the licensure exam. We want our students to be safe, effective, and compassionate nurses, and our faculty modeled that behavior in their interactions with our students during these difficult times.”

NCLEX is a nationwide examination for licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. Nursing graduates must pass NCLEX to receive their nursing license and permission to practice nursing in the state where they met the requirements. NCLEX is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential for the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry-level.