The faculty in Rappahannock Community College’s Health Sciences department are like the coaches of a championship contender. Year after year, RCC’s nursing program achieves high marks and accolades, like the recent No. 1 ranking among all community colleges in Virginia.
Now, add another accomplishment to the list, as the graduating Class of 2017 from both the Practical Nursing (PN) and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs have achieved an unprecedented 100 percent pass rate for the NCLEX exam.
The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is the test that each state board of nursing uses to test if an individual is prepared to enter the workforce in a nursing practice. The first step of this licensure process is to complete their nursing degree, which is the ADN or PN.
This means our faculty produced a team of nursing all-stars.
“It’s a big deal for us because it’s validation that the hard work of our faculty and our students is paying off,” says Ellen Koehler, program chair of the ADN program at RCC.
“This is the first time one of our classes achieved a 100% pass rate since 2012 — and this was one of our largest classes too. So the fact that every one of them passed the very first time is a huge deal.”
Many of the faculty who teach in the ADN program also work in the PN program, and vice-versa. Sue Perry, an RCC alumna herself and the director of the PN program, is equally thrilled about this news.
“I am elated that all of them passed,” says Sue Perry, program chair of RCC’s PN program. “We graduated 14 students in May, and they all passed. Right now we have 44, so our program is growing.”
“Students are more likely to come here if we have a really high NCLEX pass rate, which we now have,” says Perry.
The word must be getting out about the ranking and recent testing results. Koehler says that she’s received multiple calls from recruiters and organizations looking to hire students out of the program — even before graduation.
“We have a great reputation for putting out students who are well-suited for the field,” says Koehler. “But now there is a real nursing shortage in almost every healthcare facility in this region. We’ve been talking about the shortage for years, and now it’s finally hitting us now.”
For now, the celebration is short-lived. Koehler and Perry will enjoy this moment very briefly, much like Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, who views winning the Super Bowl as being “five weeks behind” on the next season.
The coaching staff in the RCC Nursing Department are busy training the next cohort of nursing students for another championship run.