JJC NCLEX, CNA Scores Higher Than State, National Averages

Joliet Junior College nursing graduates topped the state and national averages in 2013 after taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), according to Mary Magruder, JJC professor and chair of the Nursing, Allied Health, and Emergency Services Department.

These results come after the exam increased in difficulty in December 2012, according to a news release from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

JJC registered nursing grads (RNs) had a 93 percent passing rate, ten percent above the national average and eight percent above the state average. JJC practical nursing grads (PNs) did even better – with a 98 percent passing rate. The national average was 85 percent and the state average was 88 percent for the NCLEX-PN exam.

Students are qualified to become PNs after their first year in JJC’s nursing program. Once they successfully pass the NCLEX-PN, they become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and many work in nursing homes, home health, assisted living, private duty, or in patients’ homes. After two years in JJC’s nursing program, students are qualified to take the NCLEX-RN, and if successful, they become RNs.

Nursing is one of the country’s fastest growing occupations, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2012 to 2020, positions for RNs are expected to grow by 19 percent and LPN positions are expected to increase by 39 percent. Other job increases by 2022 include: 21 percent for CNAs; 48 percent for home health aides; 39 percent for sonographers; and 23 percent for EMTs and paramedics.

JJC has the biggest community college-based nursing program in Illinois, and one of only a few that offers an evening program.

More than 100 students graduate from JJC’s nursing program each year. Thanks to the new Health Professions Center built in 2013, students are exposed to state-of-the-art simulation, and computer labs. The practice and simulation labs allow for hands-on learning while nursing knowledge is evaluated. The computer lab enables the student to take tests and practice for NCLEX style questions.

JJC’s Nursing, Allied Health, and Emergency Services Department accepts 96 students into the nursing program every year, and 16 students into the transfer program.

“The success of the JJC nursing program is possible because of the dedication and excellence of the nursing faculty,” Magruder said. “In addition, the clerical and support staff, tutors, and administration also contribute to the success of the students.”

In addition to the NCLEX, JJC students that took the certified nursing assistant (CNA) exam in 2013 had a 95 percent pass rate, five percent above the state average.

Katie Fazio, head of the CNA program at JJC, said CNA students did well on their exams because JJC’s program includes 96 hours of theory and 52 hours of clinical – exceeding the state minimum requirement of 80 hours of theory and 40 hours of clinical.

“We believe the additional time allows for the reinforcement of course content and skill development,” Fazio said. “Dedicated instructors and the use of state-of-the-art classrooms also contribute to the high success rate.”

To learn more about the nursing program at JJC, prospective students can attend informational sessions, which can be found at http://www.jjc.edu/academics/divisions/nursing-allied-health/nursing/Pages/default.aspx. Magruder can also be reached at 815-280-2438 or by e-mail at mmagrude@jjc.edu. For information about becoming a CNA at JJC, contact Fazio at mfazio@jjc.edu or 815-280-2463.

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