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Nursing Class of 2023 earns 100% passage on licensing exam

Historic milestone achieved even with more comprehensive exam designed to better test critical thinking and clinical judgment.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 

Nursing student at work in the patient simulation lab

Lipscomb’s School of Nursing achieved record-setting success this month as 100% of the May 2023 cohort achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

The NCLEX is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. Since 2016, Lipscomb’s Bachelor’s of Nursing graduates have routinely surpassed both state and national averages, but this year is the first year a graduating class has scored 100% passage on their first attempt taking the exam.

“This is not only a huge victory for us in general, but this was the first cohort to take the new version of the NCLEX, which was intended to be more comprehensive and increasingly examine clinical judgement,” said Chelsia Harris, executive director of Lipscomb's School of Nursing. “There were predictions for the nation to expect significant decreases in pass rates, but we are grateful that was not the case for us.”

“The faculty work tirelessly to implement evidence-based teaching-learning strategies as they impart wisdom. Our staff gives of themselves daily to support, encourage and strengthen us all, and our incredible students are hardworking, dedicated and resilient.”

Nursing students in the patient simulation lab

The new version of the exam, called NCLEX Next Gen, includes more questions to assess deeper critical thinking, clinical reasoning and judgment skills. For example, graduates must respond to unfolding patient scenarios, where perhaps labs or diagnostic results lead to the first question. Then more information, such as nurse’s notes, new provider orders, patient response to an intervention or new diagnostic results, is shared leading to the next question, and so on. One case study may have several questions tied to it, which more accurately mimics the reality of patient care.

“We have been preparing for this for the last couple of years by introducing this type of teaching/learning in our classrooms, in our simulation center and in our exams,” said Harris. “Our faculty have been absolutely amazing and enthusiastically taken on this challenge. I couldn’t be prouder of all of their intentionality and hard work.”

Lipscomb’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). ACEN is the leading authority in nursing accreditation and provides specialized accreditation for all levels of nursing education and transition-to-practice programs located in the United States, U.S. Territories and internationally.

Lipscomb’s School of Nursing traditionally has a 100% job placement rate for its graduates within one year of completing the program. Over the years, it has been ranked as one of the most diverse nursing schools in America by, one of the best nursing schools in the nation and state by