Pfeiffer, SCC rank among highest in North Carolina for passing state boards

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, May 3, 2022

One metric used for gauging success in nursing schools is how well graduates do on state licensing exams.

For two local schools, the numbers are doing very well statewide.

According to figures from the North Carolina Board of Nursing, the programs of Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College rank near the top in the state for students passing the registered nurse exam on their first attempt.

Pfeiffer ranks ninth along with Barton College, Campbell University and UNC-Charlotte with a three-year average of 93 percent. Western Carolina has the highest three-year rate at 99 percent, followed by East Carolina (97) and Wingate (96).

Martha Bramlett, associate professor and department chair for nursing at Pfeiffer, said she and the staff work very hard to produce that rate.

“We work very hard with (students) individually to help them learn what they need to know, to address their weaknesses and build on their strengths,” Bramlett said. “We have a really solid curriculum that works. We also hold them to high standards as they go through the program, and we’re constantly making sure our admission standards are strong enough that we’re admitting people that have the ability to do this.”

Pfeiffer has around 20 students on the Misenheimer campus for the program, which Bramlett said is small even among small programs. However, she added, it allows for staff to “give a lot of very close personal attention to students that you simply don’t get in a larger setting.”

With improvements to Harris Building during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bramlett said the program has a strong skills lab. The lab “allows us to work with students to help them develop judgment and clinical thinking,” she said.

The state pass rates only consider first-time exam takers, Bramlett said, noting the program’s all-time testing pass rate is 97 percent.

Regarding community colleges, SCC’s three-year rate is at 96 percent, putting it among the top 11 schools in the state. Alamance and Central Piedmont community colleges lead the state with a 98 percent rate.

“Anywhere you go to (nursing) school is no easy task,” said Chassity Speight-Washburn, the director of SCC’s Annie Ruth Kelley Associate Degree Nursing Program. “The faculty is always up to date on all the latest changes with the state and national nursing boards … and adapting well to those changes.”

Speight-Washburn said the faculty also offers students “real life opportunities” which match the changes in the nursing exams.

She said she asks people when they have been in a situation with a nurse to find out where they went to school.

“If they tell you Stanly, you know they’re a good nurse.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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