Community College of Rhode Island nursing graduates taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) have the highest pass rate in the state for the third quarter, July 1 through Sept. 30.
The third-quarter pass rate for CCRI nursing graduates was 95 percent. These graduates are the first to complete the college’s new nursing curriculum, which was implemented in fall 2016.
Hilary Jansson, dean of health and rehabilitative sciences, said the curriculum underwent a complete redesign following the program’s last accreditation review. The accreditation process provided an opportunity to identify areas of improvement for the nursing programs, including a need to modernize the curriculum. There was also a need for a more data-driven curriculum with more specific student learning outcomes, she said.
Jeanne McColl, assistant dean of nursing, said the curriculum has been updated and aligned with current and evidence-based practices. “Our NCLEX scores had been dropping. They were still acceptable, but lower than they had been. Our curriculum needed to be upgraded,” she said. “The NCLEX exam includes changes required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for current practice in nursing. Those changes were addressed in our new curriculum.”
The new curriculum includes more lecture time, which aligns with national standards. McColl said the increase in lecture has benefitted students, noting faculty in the first cohort’s last semester were impressed by students’ critical thinking ability.
Jansson said the students’ last class is a capstone course in which they are paired with a registered nurse and experience a full range of a registered nurse’s responsibilities in patient care. “They are able to see a broader perspective of patient care,” she said.
McColl added that students are not learning new content during this course. “They’re able to pull it all together and apply it and sharpen their critical thinking skills.”
The new curriculum took two years to develop and two years to implement. For a time, faculty members were teaching new and old curriculum at the same time, as the last students under the old curriculum finished the program. McColl and Jansson said this was a challenging, yet productive, time for faculty and staff. They said excellence in teaching and teamwork were major contributors to CCRI nursing graduates’ success.
What do students think of the new curriculum? “They’re thrilled they passed the boards,” McColl said.