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M State nursing graduates earn top pass rates on exams [UPDATED]

Published 10:14am Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Updated 12:16pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nursing graduates of Minnesota State Community and Technical College had two of Minnesota’s highest 2013 pass rates on the professional licensing exams required for both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

M State Dean of Nursing Jennifer Jacobson said the pass rate for RNs is especially significant because M State’s first-time pass rate rose at a time when the national licensing exam increased in difficulty and the overall pass rate declined nationwide and in Minnesota.

Graduates of the M State Associate Degree nursing program, which trains RNs, had a first-time pass rate of 94 percent on the NCLEX exam, the top rate among all two-year colleges in Minnesota and the fourth-highest among graduates of all RN (associate degree and baccalaureate) nursing programs in the state. The average pass rate was 80 percent in Minnesota and 81 percent nationally.

One hundred and fourteen graduates of M State’s Associate Degree program took the 2013 NCLEX-RN exam, which is required for licensure as an RN.

The 109 graduates of M State’s Practical Nursing program recorded a first-time pass rate of more than 98 percent on the 2013 NCLEX-PN exam, the licensing exam for PNs. That was the second-highest rate among PN programs in the state. The average first-time pass rate for PNs at Minnesota’s two-year colleges was 91 percent, and the national average was 84 percent.

Both the Associate Degree and PN programs are offered on the four M State campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena.


According to Jacobson, M State tightened its eligibility requirements for nursing students in 2013 and adopted an “integrated learning program” that prepares students for the NCLEX exams throughout their entire nursing education.

As a result, pass rates in the RN program rose from 74 percent in 2011 to 78 percent in 2012 to the current rate of 94 percent.

The 98 percent pass rate for PN graduates in 2013 is also an increase; the rates were 92 percent in 2011 and 91 percent in 2012.

“These pass rates are a source of great pride both for our graduates and our nursing faculty,” Jacobson said.

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