Union excels with NCLEX scores

The simulation center is one training method students feel prepares them for real world experiences. | PC: Integrated Marketing Communications

The simulation center is one training method students feel prepares them for real world experiences. | PC: Integrated Marketing Communications

Union College’s nursing program has been making headlines lately, and for good reason. For the second year in a row, Union College nursing students have achieved the highest first-time National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) passing rate in both the state of Nebraska and among Seventh-day Adventist nursing programs.

The national average first-time passing rate in 2016 was 83.59 percent. Union College students excelled with a 97.06 percent first-time pass rate. Richard Dien, senior nursing major, chose Union College because of this high pass rate. “The fact that we’re tested using the same types of questions on the NCLEX gets us to think like a nurse and immensely prepares us to be one of the many students graduating from a program that passes the NCLEX on their first try.”

Excellence is Union’s reality for a number of reasons. According to Andrew Donohue, senior nursing major, Union’s program is unique due to its close attention to detail and thorough preparation. He said, “The nursing program does a great job of organizing the material we need to know into outcomes for us.”

Jeremy Janke, junior nursing major, finds the professors unique and what he loves most about the program.

“Even when I don't feel like I'm doing well I remember I'm in a program geared towards making me succeed, both in the short and long run. I have the confidence to keep going,” he said, “If 97 percent of graduates could pass their NCLEX on the first try then I can too.”

Another core aspect to preparation and success for nursing students, not just in the NCLEX but also post-graduation work, is to provide a hands-on, realistic approach to learning. On top of regular hospital clinicals and service hours, Union has incorporated a simulation program to help students become proficient in care techniques before trying them out on a real patient.

According to Tracy Hagele, the simulation center coordinator, many nursing schools incorporate a simulator experience into programs using a single patient simulation–one student working with one simulator.

At Union, the high tech simulation center mimics a hospital unit, allowing students to work as a team to care for several patient simulators and live patients. During simulations, each nursing student talks with their patients, performs physical assessments, reviews patient charts with physician orders and lab results, retrieves and administers appropriate medications and records information on the patient's’ electronic health record.

Referring to the program, Hope Sajdak, junior nursing student, said, “The simulation process raises my confidence level for when I’m actually out on the floor during clinicals, caring for patients. We’re faced with challenges we’ll experience soon as nurses.”

Donohue added, “Once we get out on our own, we’ll be light years ahead of other newly-graduated nurses.”

Union works hard to provide not only what the job market demands, but also provides for the needs of its students, and that’s one of the many reasons why students love Union College. The dedicated instructors, welcoming environment and the constant strive towards success create an unforgettable experience.

As Dien, summarized, “Whether it be the insane amount of tests we take, simulations we’re put through or clinicals at the hospital we experience, Union’s programs promote independent thinking and the assertiveness required to be successful.”

Danica Eylenstein in a junior studying communication.