NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Recent graduates from Stephen F. Austin State University’s DeWitt School of Nursing achieved a 96.58-percent first-time passing rate on the National Council Licensure Examination.

The NCLEX-RN is an exam nursing graduates nationwide and in Canada must take and pass in order to receive their nursing license. The NCLEX-RN is designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities essential for the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the national average first-time passing rate is 90.65 percent. Dr. Sara Bishop, professor and director of SFA’s DeWitt School of Nursing, said SFA students’ high marks are a testament to the quality of its nursing program.

“We challenge and encourage our students the entire time they are in nursing school to be the best nurses possible,” Bishop said. “This accomplishment shows we have some of the best prepared nurses in the nation graduating from SFA and entering the workforce.”

Jesus Tobias, a 2017 graduate from SFA’s DeWitt School of Nursing, works for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. He credits the nursing program’s faculty members with ensuring he was prepared to take the exam in early June.

“The nursing school instructors were great at over-preparing us to take the NCLEX-RN,” Tobias said. “The test is just one part of the process in becoming a nurse. The rest is about having the knowledge and experience to practice as a nurse. SFA helped prepare me for that.”

According to Bishop, nursing instructors do everything possible to prepare students for

the exam. “This achievement means a lot to our faculty members. Every instructor knows how difficult the NCLEX-RN is, so to have so many of our students pass the exam the first time they take it means we’re doing something great.”