Cecil College Nursing number one in Maryland for national licensing exam pass rate

December 3rd, 2019

by Cecil College, 12/3/2019

NORTH EAST, Md. – Cecil College’s nursing program continues to be one of the most coveted nursing schools in the State of Maryland, with its graduates highly recruited in the nursing profession. For the second consecutive year, 100 percent of the graduates successfully passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to acquire their registered nursing license. 

Cecil College is the only institution in the state to have a perfect pass rate both years. The nursing program has consistently been among the highest performing schools in Maryland with the highest pass rate in 2015 and 2016, while in 2017, the College was second in the state. 

“Community College nursing programs are critical to meeting the workforce need for nurses in Maryland. Such an outstanding pass rate indicates that Cecil College is preparing nurses to meet the challenges of today’s health care environment,” said Cecil College President Dr. Mary Way Bolt.

Cecil College not only exceeded the pass rate for the other 14 community colleges in Maryland, but also the 12 four-year universities offering a Bachelors or pre-licensure Masters of Science degrees in nursing. The next closest programs were Salisbury University and Anne Arundel Community College, with a pass rate of 98.8 percent. For the entire State of Maryland, the pass rate average was 87.7 percent compared to the national average of 87.8 percent. 

“We have a lot of support for our program at Cecil College. The Board of Trustees, Administration, faculty, and the Cecil College Foundation ensure we have the most up-to-date equipment and supplies, provide financial support for the students as well as professional educational opportunities for our nursing faculty,” said Dean of Health and Human Services Nancy Norman-Marzella, D.N.P.

Cecil College has several vital elements to its success formula. The first is the dedication of the faculty, with four of the six full-time members holding doctorate credentials. The full-time faculty include; Assistant Director, Dr. Roxanne Rash, Lauren Dawson, Amy Smythe, Dr. Shirley Gharbin, Mary Knarr, and Dr. Cynthia Horton. In addition, 11 adjunct instructors with advanced degrees are full-time practitioners in the medical field.  

“Our faculty’s level of commitment to the program and students is a magical formula,” said Dr. Norman-Marzella. “The faculty know the curriculum and can help students because they understand the rigorous demands of the nursing program. They know where students traditionally are stressed, and they provide additional learning resources and extra time for topics that have proven to be more of a challenge.”

The second ingredient in this formula is the addition of a nursing student success coordinator, who performs one-on-one and small group study sessions to prepare students for exams or clinical preparation. The faculty and nursing student success coordinator work with students on test-taking techniques, stress management for nursing school, and a variety of other proven success strategies. 

The final ingredient is the curriculum, which incorporates theory and practice in each of the nursing courses, a learning formula that provides students with hands-on practice and experience beginning in the first semester. 

“There are programs that offer all the didactic upfront with the clinical schedule in the last semester. Under this format, students do not have an opportunity to practice what they learn in class. Our theory courses are tied to student’s clinical to develop competencies through explanatory activities and practice. What students are learning in class, they apply in clinical at the same time,” said Dr. Norman-Marzella. “Hands-on learning gives a sense of immediacy for our students who are adult learners. Adult learners are more engaged and comfortable learning when they are unable to apply it right away. Our students graduate with the knowledge to improve health conditions using a holistic approach in the care of their patients.”

Due to the success of Cecil College’s program, it has a job placement rate of 80 percent within nine months of graduation. These students work in a multitude of fields, from critical care to home healthcare and surgical environments. The remaining 20 percent are students who decide to pursue their bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing upon completion of their associate degree and prior to seeking employment. 

Cecil College’s nursing program is fully approved by the Maryland State Board of Nursing, and nationally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Cecil College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).