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Of the fall 2009 graduates in New Mexico State University's School of Nursing, 96.77 percent passed in their first time taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The exam is required to obtain a license as a registered nurse, meaning graduates may not enter the nursing field without a passing score.
"NMSU is held accountable for this pass rate," said Teresa Keller, an associate professor in NMSU's School of Nursing. "We are required to keep that rate above 80 percent, which is about the national average. When we see 94 or 96 percent, we are very happy."
The NCLEX was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and requires students to not just know facts, but how to use applied knowledge when given scenarios in the exam's questions.
"Our pass rate really shows the caliber of our students. We have great students and great faculty members as well," Keller said.
The school's pass rate has hovered around 90 to 95 percent for the past few years. More than 94 percent of NMSU graduates passed the exam last year.
There are currently more than 250 students in NMSU's undergraduate nursing program. Keller said support from the school's clinical partners, area hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities, is also key to the program's success.
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