Augustana’s Nursing Class of 2021 Posts Highest NCLEX Pass Rate in South Dakota

By Jill Wilson | May 31, 2022
Nursing Class of 2021

Augustana University is proud to announce that its Class of 2021 nursing department graduates within its School of Health Professions achieved a 97.3% pass rate when taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) — the highest pass rate of all programs in South Dakota.

The NCLEX exam is a standardized test that every state's regulatory board uses to determine readiness for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). Of the 75 Augustana graduates who earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — in both the traditional and accelerated programs — 73 students passed the exam. This includes the December 2021 accelerated nursing program cohort, who posted a perfect pass rate.

“Our students are dedicated and understand that if they put the work in during the program, it will pay off when they take the NCLEX exam at the end. Students are introduced to the NCLEX exam content starting on day one of their nursing courses and continually strive to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities to master the exam throughout the program,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing Mary Nelson, who teaches students at each level of Augustana’s nursing program, beginning with its sophomore-level pre-nursing introduction course.
According to the South Dakota Board of Nursing, the average NCLEX pass rate of all nursing program graduates in South Dakota was 88.8% in 2021, compared to the national average of 82.5%.
“The high NCLEX pass rate is a reflection of the commitment to excellence from the students and faculty. The pandemic forced us to think about new ways of delivering nursing education and reinforced the need to ensure that students were supported throughout the program,” said Augustana Department of Nursing Program Director and Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Lynn White.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030 — about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 194,500 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

About Augustana’s Department of Nursing

For more than 80 years, Augustana's Department of Nursing has been a regional leader in preparing nurses. The innovative program values excellence and service and provides experiences for students to cultivate their personal, intellectual and professional growth. Augustana graduates are prepared to address issues in a complex 21st century health care environment.

Augustana University offers a baccalaureate program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Augustana is a 4-year professional nursing program with a liberal arts curriculum as its foundation.

The university’s post-baccalaureate accelerated nursing program is a full-time plan of study designed for students who have a college degree and have completed the prerequisite courses. The accelerated program includes two fall semesters, a January Interim or J-Term, a spring semester, and a summer session and is completed in 16 months.

In October 2021, Augustana University's Department of Nursing was officially endorsed as a Holistic Nursing Program by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) — the only college in South Dakota and one of only 17 schools in the nation to earn this endorsement. 

Augustana will launch its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in the fall of 2022, with an emphasis in two areas — adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) and adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist (AG-CNS). Beginning in the summer of 2023, AU will also offer two post-master’s certificate options for the AG-ACNP and AG-CNS specialty tracks.

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