nursing student receives white coat

A first-semester nursing student receives a white coat during the Missouri Western Lighting of the Lamp White Coat Ceremony on March 3, 2023.

March 21, 2023–All 44 of the Missouri Western State University students who received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree last December passed their NCLEX licensure exam on their first attempt.

“Congratulations to our nursing graduates for their outstanding performance, and to our nursing faculty who worked hard to prepare them well,” said Dr. Laura Reynolds, provost and vice president of academic affairs. 

Missouri Western nursing graduates typically outperform state and national average pass rates on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The University’s 2022 first-time pass rate, for example, which included December 2021 and May 2022 graduates, was 85.87%, compared to the national average of 79.9%. 

But a pass rate of 100% is rare. The last time all Missouri Western nursing graduates passed the exam on their first try was almost 15 years ago, in May, 2008. 

“Our graduates worked really hard – they studied their tails off,” said Dr. Heather Kendall, professor of nursing and department chair. “And our nursing faculty are committed to our students’ success.”

To better prepare graduates for the exam, in recent semesters a face-to-face NCLEX review session has been incorporated into the last semester of Missouri Western’s nursing curriculum.

Missouri Western nursing graduates are not only prepared for the exam, they are prepared for their careers. Dr. Kendall reports that when they crossed the stage to receive their diploma in December, 41 of the 44 graduates had a job in the field.

“There is a critical need for nurses in our communities, especially registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree, and we’re proud that we can help meet that workforce need,” said Dr. Crystal Harris, dean of the College of Science and Health.

The NCLEX-RN is an exam by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing that nursing school graduates take to become registered nurses. It is a variable length, computerized, adaptive exam designed to test knowledge, skills and abilities essential to the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level. 

Missouri Western’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program accepts up to 60 students each semester. The program has a graduation rate of more than 90%, and a job placement rate of more than 95%.

Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit