Nursing graduates score high

Almost 93 percent of OCCC nursing graduates passed their license exam on the first try last year.

This surpassed the national and the state average pass rate for the 2010 National Council Licensure Exam, said Rosemary Klepper, nursing program director for OCCC.

OCCC students exceeded the national average by 5.15 percent and the state average by 5.8 percent.

The NCLEX-RN is an exam that is required nationwide for nursing students to become registered nurses.


This test is the same for all nursing graduates, whether they are from two-year colleges such as OCCC or from four-year programs such as Yale University, Klepper said.

Of the 202 OCCC graduates who took the exam last year, 187 passed the first time, Klepper said. The pass-rate is figured on first-time exam takers, even though most of the remaining students will pass the second time they take the test, she said.

Nursing students at OCCC say they are satisfied with the way they were prepared to take the exam and become certified registered nurses.

Dolce Molina, a spring 2010 graduate, said she had professors with high expectations who encouraged students to come in and discuss test questions with them.

“They were always available,” she said. “The instructors helped us raise our own standards.”

Molina said she believes her professors truly wanted her to understand the information she was learning, rather than simply memorize it.

She said she also appreciated that the teachers would update their own tests to reflect the style of the NCLEX exam, to better prepare the students.

Since graduating from the OCCC nursing program, Molina has taken a position in the Emergency Department of the St. Anthony Hospital.

Tammy Jackson, also a spring 2010 graduate, said she believes the nursing program gave her “a lot of on-the-job training.

“The tests in class were very similar to the ones that were on the NCLEX exam,” she said.

Jackson believes this is one way the OCCC nursing program helped prepare her for the NCLEX.

Jackson said she did a lot of her own personal studying for the exam, completing more than 5,000 practice questions.

As in years past, the OCCC nursing program has had more students pass the NCLEX-RN exam than any other program in the state.

In 2009 OCCC had 206 students pass the exam, which surpassed even the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center which had only 202 students pass the exam.

Most other nursing schools in Oklahoma had less than half of the number of students attempting the test, ranging from three students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Woodward, to 129 students at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City. These numbers reflect the growing size of OCCC’s already large nursing program, Klepper said.

The OCCC nursing program has grown significantly in the past few years, thanks to the greater demand for nurses, she said.

“We take the need for qualified nurses in our metro area very seriously.”

The program’s size may fool some into thinking it would be easy to get into, but that is certainly not true, Klepper said.

Last year, the traditional program, which has the largest numbers, had a total of 530 qualified applicants, but only 216 were accepted.

Having acceptance into the program that can be so competitive helps ensure students are willing to put in the work to do well when they take the NCLEX exam and then enter the workforce, Klepper said.

Klepper said professors in the nursing program are very satisfied with the standards of acceptance, given that the program produces a high pass rate on the licensure exam. In addition, she said, employers report being satisfied with graduates from the program.

For more information about OCCC’s nursing program, contact Klepper at

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