Augustana Nursing Graduates Achieve Highest NCLEX Pass Rate of BSN Programs in South Dakota in 2023

By Jill Wilson | June 20, 2024

Augustana is proud to announce that the university’s Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) graduates within its School of Health Professions achieved a 95.5% National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) pass rate in 2023 — the highest of all 4-year BSN programs in South Dakota, and the third highest among all RN programs in the state. In addition, Augustana’s December 2023 Accelerated Nursing Program graduates achieved a 100% pass rate.

The NCLEX-RN® is a standardized test that every state's regulatory board uses to determine readiness for licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Of the 67 Augustana graduates who earned their BSN in 2023 — in both the university’s traditional and accelerated programs — 64 students passed the exam when taking it for the first time.

Nursing Class of 2023

“The culture of excellence within the Augustana Nursing Program is a testament to the high caliber of our students and the commitment of the faculty. The robust liberal arts foundation, in addition to the comprehensive nursing curriculum with strong clinical experiences ensures that our graduates are prepared to enter the health care workforce,” said Dr. Lynn White, Augustana associate professor & program director of nursing.

According to the South Dakota Board of Nursing (SDBON), Augustana’s NCLEX pass rate was 4.2% higher than the average pass rate of all nursing program graduates in the state at 91.3%, and 8.9% higher than the national average of 86.6%.

The 2023 SDBON Annual Education Report of Nursing Education indicated that South Dakota needs to fill open student seats and produce more RN graduates to meet the state’s increasing employment demands.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032 — about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 193,100 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 are switching careers or exiting the labor force, such as to retire.

“Augustana has a proven track record of recruiting top-tier students into its nursing programs. We recently added state-of-the-art technology in the nursing labs to help to recruit and retain students. We partner with area health systems for clinical opportunities so we can serve as a pipeline for nursing graduates,” said White. 

The Augustana University Nursing Program was ranked the best program in South Dakota for 2023 by — a nursing advocacy organization.

About the Augustana Department of Nursing

For more than 80 years, the Augustana 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 offers bachelor’s and master’s programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the South Dakota Board of Nursing. Augustana’s bachelor’s program 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 (J-Term), spring semester, and summer session and is completed in 16 months.

In October 2021, the Augustana University 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 launched its Master of Science in nursing (MSN) program in Fall 2022, with an emphasis in two areas — adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) and adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist (AG-CNS). AU also offers two post-master’s certificate options for the AG-ACNP and AG-CNS specialty tracks.

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