The Long Beach State nursing program ranks ninth out of 126 registered nursing programs in the state based on its collective success in passing the National Council Licensure Examination.
The ranking was compiled by Registered Nursing, a nursing school statistic site.
The university ranks ahead of programs such as San Diego State and University of California, Los Angeles, and placed second among California State Universities, one spot behind CSU Channel Islands.
Melissa Dyo, assistant director for the School of Nursing, said she wasn’t surprised by the ranking, as she knows the program has a strong reputation in the state and consistently does well in testing.
The ranking process relied on the results of the National Council Licensure Examination, which is a standardized test issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing to ensure the graduate of the program is prepared for an entry-level position.
“That’s the exam when you pass, you’re ready to be a nurse,” said Cameron Yerzyk, a senior nursing major. “So that’s what it’s all about, passing the NCLEX at the end of the day.”
Registered Nursing analyzed and weighed the pass rates of all California programs over the last five years, giving more weight to more recently passed exams. Exams passed in 2016 would count more than exams passed in 2012. According to the California Board of Registered Nursing website, in 2017 and 2018, all 132 LBSU students who took the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing exam passed.
“There are some semesters that our entire class of graduating students pass their licensure exam,” Dyo said. “That is a very remarkable achievement and something we are very proud of and that we really strive for.”
Despite being proud of the program’s pass rate, Dyo said she didn’t feel it was smart to make the exam the focal point of the program, and instead choosing to assess students as they complete each specialty level has been more effective.
Yerzyk said LBSU has a good relationship with Long Beach Memorial Medical that gives students great experience, a foot in the door to a local employer and clinical placement.
The relationship with the hospital goes back 14 years and helped expand the LBSU nursing program.
According to Dyo, before the partnership with Long Beach Memorial Medical, the program accepted 30 students a semester. After the partnership was created, due to faculty and funding the hospital provided, the number of acceptances increased to 80 or 90 a semester.
Despite this significant increase in admission, nursing is still one of the most impacted and competitive majors at LBSU. In fall 2018, the average science GPA for admission was 3.967, according to the applicant pool statistics released by the School of Nursing.
Dyo said the impact has to do with clinical rotations.
“When a student has a lecture class there’s also a clinical lab which means they go to the hospital,” Dyo said. “They can’t be in groups of more than about 10 students. If we were in another major where we did not have a clinical component, we could admit hundreds of students and just find a lecture hall big enough.”
While the program’s impactedness is an issue for students who aren’t accepted into the department, Dyo said this allows the School of Nursing to maintain high achieving students.
“Our goal, holistically, is to prepare the students to be someone who is compassionate [and] ethical, is a critical thinker and that can make really great decisions regardless of the situation or the clinical setting that they’re in,” Dyo said.