Lower pass rates result of new nursing licensure test

It wasn’t a surprise that OCCC nursing graduates had a lower pass rate on their licensure exam in 2013, compared to 2012, said Nursing School Director Debbie Myers.

Still, it was a wake-up call about the future of nursing education, which will require more emphasis on leadership and community nursing.

The percentage of OCCC nursing students who passed the state boards the first time they took the test went from 96 percent in 2012 to 87 percent in 2013, Myers said.

That 9 percent drop was not far from her expectations, she said.

In 2013, OCCC had 192 graduates take the test.

Not only was the rigor of the test accelerated, but the passing standard was increased.

Every three years, a new licensure test is implemented and there is usually a 3 to 5 percent drop in the pass rate.

New material and innovations in the medical field always leave a few students behind, Myers said.

The 2013 test was more challenging than others before it.

“The National Council of State Boards of Nursing told us that it was going to be much more difficult of a re-write than the years in the past,” Myers said.

“I think they are trying to prepare everybody for the way our healthcare system is going and the expanded role of the registered nurse.

“Recommendations are for nurses to continue their education and have advanced degrees because we will be playing a larger part in the healthcare system than before.”

The state and national data show the passing rate at 83 percent for the newest test, so OCCC is still well above that.

Myers said this is an indication of what is to come.

OCCC nursing graduates take the same test that is given to all registered nursing graduates across the country, whether they attend two-year or four-year colleges.

The University of Oklahoma’s passing rate went down from 95 to 89 percent with 36 fewer students taking the exam, Myers said.

OU had 156 nursing graduates testing in 2013.

OCCC’s nursing faculty is faced with the challenge of incorporating the same amount of information within half the time as four-year programs.

The state boards are focussing more on areas that have not been tested in depth in the past.

“Our focus has always been on establishing very good bedside nurses that have a very good grasp on patient care,” Myers said.

“Now we know, in order to be competitive and to pass boards, we need to focus more on leadership, management, community nursing and research because they’re what is needed in our healthcare system.

“We can’t teach them everything they need to know within the time that we have,” she said.

“Students have to be very, very committed and more so now than ever of reading broadly, of taking the initiative to do more than is what is on their assignments, and to make sure they understand the content with the depth that they are going to need to know.”

For more information, call Myers at 405-682-1611, ext. 7138.

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