UNE leads state in first-time pass rates for B.S.N. degree licensing exams

Nursing students stand around a patient simulator in UNE's Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center
Nursing students hone their skills through top-notch classroom instruction, a variety of clinical rotations, interprofessional education, and clinical simulation exercises.

More students in the University of New England’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program passed their national licensing exams on the first try in 2021 than those from any other baccalaureate nursing program in Maine.

More than 95% of UNE nursing students passed the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) on their first attempts in 2021, according to state data, placing UNE first among similar programs in the state.

The University’s first-time NCLEX pass rate of 95.16% by far bests the state average of 85.01% and the national average of 82.48%.

“I’m ecstatic to see our students perform so well on their national licensing exams,” remarked Jennifer Morton, D.N.P., M.P.H., PHNA-BC, director of the School of Nursing and Population Health within UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions. “There were many disruptions to our normal instruction due to the pandemic, but we have seen students and faculty meet those challenges and excel, and that says a lot about the quality of our program. We have faculty who are able to quickly pivot and adapt to changing circumstances and help bring students to where they need to be at the end of their nursing education.”

Morton also attributed the high pass rates to the strengths of UNE's nursing program, which fully immerses students in nursing study starting their first year through offerings that include top-notch classroom instruction, a variety of clinical rotations, and interprofessional education (IPE) and research experiences.

“UNE nursing students undergo a complete immersion into nursing study and clinical care,” Morton said. “By the time they leave campus, they have obtained a high level of confidence that allows them to not only take and pass the NCLEX exam but to also safely care for patients in the clinical setting while working across health care disciplines to address patient needs.”

The newly tabulated scores reflect a trend of successful student outcomes within UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions, with 94.5% of students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program passing the National Physical Therapy Exam on the first try in the past two years.