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Wildwood Nurses Achieve Perfect Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

Julia NevinsWhen Julia Nevins enrolled in the nursing program at St. Louis Community College at Wildwood, she did so with aspirations of working in pediatrics. 

Fast-forward two years, Nevins successfully completed the program and landed her dream job as a pediatric nurse at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. 

“While every day is a new challenge, I love my job because I get to help make kids feel better,” she said. “I truly feel like my clinical experience and the instruction I received in the classroom prepared me for my nursing career.”

Along with graduating from STLCC-Wildwood’s inaugural cohort of nursing students in May 2022, Nevins is one of 13 students who achieved another success. The entire cohort passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) on the first attempt. 

Jordan A. Cooper, MSN, RN, division dean of nursing at STLCC, explained the significance of this achievement. 

“The NCLEX-RN is a rigorous exam that tests a potential nurse’s ability to effectively make decisions, critically parse a complex process, and navigate the unique situations they may face in the field,” he said. “After successfully completing our program, you must still pass the NCLEX-RN exam before you can become a licensed registered nurse.”

Historically, STLCC graduates perform well on the NCLEX-RN. In 2021 (the year for which the most recent data is available) the average national pass rate for the NCLEX-RN was 82.48%. For STLCC, the rate was 96%. This year, Wildwood’s nursing program graduates surpassed the national average and College average by achieving a 100% pass rate. 

Wildwood's Spring 2022 Nursing CohortDeanna Martin, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor and program coordinator at Wildwood, attributes Wildwood’s perfect pass rate to the quality of STLCC’s program and the diligence of the students and instructors.

“This achievement was a team effort, and one we’re excited to celebrate,” she said. “When we launched the nursing program at Wildwood in 2020, we did so with seasoned instructors who all had a minimum of 10 years of experience. As our students progressed through the program, they were receptive to feedback and guidance, and they all put in the work to ensure that they would graduate ready to become a licensed registered nurse.”

According to Cooper, graduates like Nevins are integral to addressing the nursing shortage present in the metro area and across the nation. And while there has been a nursing shortage for years, the pandemic brought the need front and center.

In 2019, STLCC set a five-year goal of expanding capacity in the nursing program by 75%. To achieve this, the College invested in its facilities, opening the Center for Nursing and Health Sciences at Forest Park, renovating facilities at Florissant Valley and Meramec, and repurposing classroom space to bring the nursing program to Wildwood. Collectively, these efforts will allow STLCC to graduate approximately 384 nurses per year by 2024.

“Since 2019, STLCC has been taking concrete steps to address the nursing shortage,” Cooper said. “We’ve done this by expanding capacity in our nursing program and working to ensure that we provide an affordable pathway for students to earn a nursing degree.”

In fact, STLCC’s nursing program continues to be the most affordable option for students in the St. Louis area, with tuition at approximately $19,000 for two years. 

Now that Nevins has her credentials in hand, she's getting to do the important work of helping others. She’s also making plans to further her education. 

“Nursing is my passion, so I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to earn my degree at STLCC,” she said. “Up next, I plan to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program so I can leverage the education I received and advance in my career.”

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