Graduates from SUU Nursing Program Succeed

Published: April 29, 2015 | Author: Tommy Gugino | Read Time: 3 minutes

Out of more than 800 applicants across the nation, Evan Whipple, a Class of 2015 nursing graduate from Southern Utah University was one of just 50 nursing students selected by the Mayo Clinic to complete a paid nursing externship at the number one hospital in America.

After completing that externship and then his final semester of classes on campus in December, the Ephraim, Utah, native packed up and headed east to Rochester, Minn., where he now works as a registered nurse on the Cardiac ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at the Mayo Clinic. They liked him so much, they decided to keep the SUU nursing grad around.

But before he could scrub in, the SUU grad had to first pass his final exam, the NCLEX-RN licensure examination for registered nurses. Whipple passed on his first try. What's more, all of his SUU classmates did too, marking the sixth consecutive graduating class from the SUU Department of Nursing to achieve a 100% NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate.

Nationally, just 82 percent of nursing graduates pass the NCLEX on their first try; just 84 percent of nursing students across the state pass on their first try. Yet SUU's cumulative NCLEX first-time pass rate over the last 10 years is 98.7 percent and rising, bringing with it a growing reputation for SUU Nursing grads across the nation.

Donna Lister, SUU nursing department chair, said the success of the program and its nearly perfect exam scores come from the hands-on, personalized education every student receives.

“Our students have a breadth and depth of experience as they are getting their education here. They’re regularly serving in the community and at the local hospital, where they get a wide variety of opportunities."

According to Lister, that level of ongoing engagement across semesters and years for every SUU nursing student is unique to the Southern Utah University nursing program.

Of Whipple's recent success, Lister said she is not at all surprised of a student she described as excited to learn and eager to serve.

Whipple thinks just as highly of his alma mater. "SUU's program gave me the hands-on experience that I needed to succeed," crediting "their amazing clinicals,” a focal point for SUU's program, according to Lister. 

Aiming to do much more than simply prepare students to pass an exam, SUU Nursing also touts a 100-percent graduate placement rate, meaning every single one of SUU's nursing grads leave campus with a diploma and either a job in nursing or acceptance into a nursing graduate program or medical school.

“We have a great team of faculty who are well practiced in their fields," explains Lister of her program's consistent success. "From their first day in class, we are actively preparing our students to become registered nurses. The test is part of that, but we do so much more.”

Whatever they're doing, it seems to be working, year after year after year.

SUU Nursing offers a four-year nursing pre-licensure bachelor's degree program as well an RN to BSN bachelor's degree. A bachelor of science in nursing is recommended for students preparing for entry into the nursing practice. SUU's program offers learning-centered education that ensures graduates have the abilities to be successful professional nurses, in addition to a well-respected diploma.

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