USI Nursing first in Indiana and nation for NCLEX pass rates


Acording to the newest 2023-24 National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) report, the University of Southern Indiana is tied for first in pass rates for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX®) out of 52 registered nurse (RN) programs in Indiana having at least 10 graduates take the exam during the reporting period and tied for first nationally in terms of pass rates out of 2,226 RN programs. Two USI BSN cohorts were included in the data, and both achieved a 100% pass rate on the first attempt when taking the NCLEX in 2023: 29 graduated in Fall 2022, and 78 graduated in Spring 2023 also received a 100% pass rate.

One of those USI Nursing grads is Jaden Fleetwood ’23. “Being a part of the cohort that achieved a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX gives me a feeling of astonishment to say the least. It’s such an amazing accomplishment for our University, and I’m so glad to have been a part of that,” he says. “Being ranked among the number one nursing schools at both the state and national levels for NCLEX pass rates proves that USI’s nursing faculty strive to provide the highest of quality education and experiences for their students.”

When Jaden was in the fourth grade, his mother had an aneurysm on her brain stem that ruptured. “When I went to see her in the emergency room at St. Mary’s (now Ascension St. Vincent) before they life-flighted her to Vanderbilt, some of the nurses who were working on her were men,” he says. “I didn’t realize that men could be nurses, and they were performing procedures that I thought only doctors could do. I didn’t realize what all nurses could do at that time. It was both an eye-opening and life-changing experience, to say the least.”

The Fort Branch native and Gibson Southern High School graduate chose to attend USI because of its reputation for historically having “very good” pass rates for the NCLEX.  He says that USI faculty prepared him and the other nursing students by constantly emphasizing critical thinking and adding NCLEX clinical decision making as part of their daily classroom activities, exam questions, discussion boards and study sessions.

“USI also always made sure that we put patient safety at the forefront of everything in and out of the classroom,” he says. “After I took the NCLEX, I was a bit nervous, but this is a very normal feeling after taking a life-changing exam. After taking it, I kept telling myself, ‘If I pass this, I will have achieved my dream of becoming a registered nurse!’”

He is currently working as a registered nurse on the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at The Heart Hospital at Deaconess Gateway in Evansville.

“To be a USI nursing alumnus gives me a strong sense of pride,” he says. “It’s an incredible program for so many reasons, and these new rankings prove that. I recommend USI to anyone and everyone who is contemplating going to nursing school.”

Dr. Jennifer Evans, Assistant Dean for Nursing in the USI College of Nursing and Health Professions, echoed her former student’s praise for the USI Nursing Program and faculty. “Consistently over the past three years, we have increased our rankings, both in the state and nationally,” she says. “Amid all of the challenges we are facing in healthcare and higher education today, the fact that we have continued to improve our NCLEX pass rates and program outcomes demonstrates USI’s commitment to excellence in preparing nurses for the workforce.”

In addition to the BSN program, USI offers a 100% online RN to BSN option for working professionals to earn a bachelor’s degree, the ASN to BSN dual enrollment program with Ivy Tech, and several graduate nursing programs for nurses to pursue advance practice nursing, leadership and education roles.



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