Joliet Junior College nursing graduates topped the state and national averages in 2012 after taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), according to Mary Beth Luna, JJC professor and chair of the Nursing, Allied Health, and Emergency Services Department.
JJC registered nursing grads (RNs) had a 96 percent passing rate, six percent above the national average and five percent above the state average. JJC practical nursing grads (PNs) did even better – with a 100 percent passing rate. The national passing rate for PNs was 84 percent, and the state’s rate was 85 percent.
JJC has the second largest associate degree program for nursing in Illinois, with 147 RN candidates in 2012.
Although the NCLEX is a challenging test, Luna said many JJC graduates don’t think it’s that tough.
“It is difficult. But our students are well prepared. Most students, they pass and say it’s easy compared to some of their class tests,” Luna said. “I’m proud of them.”
Luna added that she, along with other nursing professors, encourage students to take a three-to-five day preparation class to practice for the test.
As graduates take the NCLEX, the computerized test will ask them between 75-265 questions. The test will end once the students have gotten a required number of answers correct.
Luna said she only expects JJC NCLEX averages to improve in the coming years, especially because of the new Health Professions Center. The new facility, which was completed in January 2013, provides more classrooms and resources for nursing students, as well as students in other allied health programs.
Students are qualified to become PNs after their first year in JJC’s nursing program. Once they take the NCLEX-PN, they become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and many work in nursing homes or patients’ homes, according to Luna. After two years in JJC’s nursing program, students become RNs.
JJC’s Nursing, Allied Health, and Emergency Services Department accepts 88 students into the nursing program every year, and 16 students into the transfer program.
To learn more about the nursing program at JJC, call Luna at 815-280-2605 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.