Despite completing their degree amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 2020 graduates of SUNY Jamestown Community College’s nursing program achieved an 86% pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination to become registered nurses — 2% better than the New York state average.

Dr. Heather Burrell, director of JCC’s associate in applied science degree in nursing program, noted that the overall pass rate of all nursing programs in the state of New York was nearly 84%. Similar associate degree programs in the state boasted an 85% pass rate, while students in bachelor in science programs statewide passed at a rate of 82%.

The national pass rate for all nursing programs was nearly 87%.

“Our delivery method transitioned quickly to an all-online format,” said Burrell, an associate professor. “This was hard for many of them as they juggled their families and the changes there. Many students already worked in healthcare and had to balance increased needs at work with this new model of school.”

Clinical experiences were also mildly affected, Burrell explained.

“Students lost out on a valuable 48 hours of one-on-one preceptor time with working nurses,” she said. “This experience had to be replaced in an online format.”

JCC nursing students have historically done well on their licensure examination, which demonstrates the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as an entry-level nurse.

“The high pass rate on the licensure exam for our nursing graduating class of 2020 is a tribute to the commitment of our students, faculty, and clinical partners in the community,” said Dr. Marilyn Zagora, vice president of Academic Affairs at JCC. “These graduates have joined the healthcare profession at a pivotal moment when their talents are urgently needed.”

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