Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
An institute of higher education located in the United States was unable to maintain the required first-time pass rate, on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam, by nursing graduates, as defined by their State Board of Nursing and accreditation body. Failure to meet these requirements resulted in a corrective action plan and fewer licensed nurses able to enter practice. The purpose of this study was to identify curricular changes to the associate nursing program to improve the first time pass rate by their nursing graduates. Benner's theory of skill acquisition was used as the conceptual framework to examine the perceived skill level needed to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The guiding research question for this study explored the perceptions of nursing educators about the integration of learning activities, between clinical and didactic courses to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam. A descriptive qualitative design was used and 11 adjunct and full time nursed educators were interviewed. Thematic data analysis identified 5 themes that included retaining programmatic accreditation, barriers to success on the NCLEX-RN exam, the gap between nursing theory and clinical application, skill development in novice nurses and the integration of simulation education in the current nursing curriculum. This final theme led to create a faculty development project based on best practices in simulation education. Consequently, positive social change will occur with the increased number of first time nursing graduates who pass the NCLEX-RN exam and are better prepared to enter professional practice while delivering quality patient care.