Lee News

First Seventeen Nursing Grads Pass NCLEX



All seventeen graduates of Lee University’s first nursing class have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for licensure as registered nurses. All received the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree at Lee in May.

“For many years, it has been our dream that Lee will produce nurses who will serve this region’s needs with skill and compassion.” said Lee President Dr. Paul Conn. “These women are the embodiment of that dream.”

Lee’s graduates passed the national exam “on their first attempt,” according to school officials. Lee’s nursing program began three years ago, and the May graduating group will be joined by another cohort in December, all of whom had previously completed part of their college work. Lee was given permission in 2013 from the Tennessee Board of Nursing to begin the program, and enrolled its first students the next year.

Every state uses the NCLEX as a “gateway” exam to the nursing profession. The exam determines whether a nursing graduate is qualified to engage in entry-level nursing practice. Each state Board of Nursing sets nursing education program standards, including the required pass rate for first-time takers of the NCLEX-RN.

The Tennessee Board of Nursing requires all programs in the state to demonstrate a minimum first-time pass rate for each year of 85 percent.

“The 100 percent pass rate by our first graduates is incredible,” said Dr. Sara Campbell, dean of Lee’s School of Nursing. “It is an honor and quite humbling to be part of something much bigger than we could ever imagine. This achievement reflects a commitment to excellence by the School of Nursing graduates, faculty, and staff, and the larger Lee community. God is faithful.”

Not only have all Lee’s graduates passed the four-year NCLEX and become RNs, they have all accepted positions at various hospitals in the region. They have been employed at medical centers such as Emory University Hospital, the three major Chattanooga hospitals (Erlanger Hospital, CHI Memorial, and Parkridge), Atlanta Medical Center, Tennova Healthcare, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, among others. They have accepted nursing assignments in intensive care, mother-baby, pediatric intensive care units, neonatal care, emergency care, and other specializations.

“The graduates of our first nursing class have persistence, grit, intelligence, and a heart for others which has sustained them through this process,” said Conn. “I believe they are all going to be great nurses.”

The seventeen new nurses came to Lee from hometowns in Florida, Ohio, New York, and Georgia, as well as Tennessee, but all but a few are staying in the Chattanooga/Cleveland area for their first hospital jobs, according to Campbell.

The Lee School of Nursing received preliminary approval by the national accrediting association, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in 2015. The program is scheduled for a final review by the Tennessee Board of Nursing on August 24.

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