Hope College Nursing is among the select eight percent of programs nationwide whose graduates achieved a 100-percent pass rate on the national licensing exam earlier this year.

Every Hope nursing graduate who took the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in May passed on their first attempt.  According to a report released earlier this month by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), only 133 of the nation's 1,752 nursing-education programs achieved a 100-percent rate between April and September, when most prospective nurses take the test.

Although not reflected in the report, all of the Hope graduates who took the examination in December of last year passed on their first attempt as well.

 "I could not be more proud of our nursing department's accomplishments," said Dr. Susan Dunn, associate professor of nursing and chair of the department.  "The 100 percent NCLEX pass rate for December 2010 and May 2011 can be directly attributed to our exceptional students, unparalleled faculty and strong support by our college administration."

Hope is one of 51 programs offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree among the top 133 in the NCLEX report.  The total also includes 75 programs that offer an Associate degree and seven programs that offer a Diploma in nursing.

A total of four Hope graduates took the examination in December 2010, and 33 in May.

The college's 100-percent pass rate for the 2010-11 school year is the highest pass rate in the history of the program, which achieved pass rates of 97 percent during 2009-10 and 95 percent during 2008-09.  The state and national averages for 2010-11 were 92 percent and 91 percent respectively.

"Scoring well on exams like this requires exceptionally bright, diligent students, but even bright, diligent students need devoted, skilled professors to help them maximize their talents," said Dr. R. Richard Ray, provost at Hope.  "I'm so grateful for the many ways the faculty have engaged with their students.  This report is but one source of evidence for the many ways - ways that most will never know about - in which our faculty are making a difference in the lives of these students."

The department of nursing at Hope began in 2002, although nursing education at the college goes back another two decades.  From 1982 through 2003, Hope and Calvin College operated a nursing program jointly before creating their own, independent programs.

The program is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Students begin studies in the program as sophomores based on completion of prerequisite classes as freshmen.  The major includes coursework on campus as well as multiple field placements, the latter spread across six specialty practicum courses, a research practicum, a family health course and an internship.  Area clinical sites have included DeVos Children's Hospital, Holland Hospital, the Ottawa County Health Department, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Spectrum Health and Zeeland Hospital.