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Drexel University Nursing Graduates Score Among Best in State on Licensing Exams

February 26, 2010

More than 98 percent of Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions students passed their Pennsylvania state licensing exam on the first try in 2009, a year when the College graduated the second-most number of nursing students in the state, according to recently released state data.

The University had the highest exam pass-rate of all peer institutions in the Greater Philadelphia region, according to data from the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Drexel’s pass-rate was above rates of other Philadelphia-area schools including Jefferson School of Nursing (96.15 percent), Villanova University (92.2 percent), the University of Pennsylvania (91.7 percent), Temple University (83.1 percent), Holy Family University (74.4 percent) and Widener University (64.8 percent).

In the year ending Sept. 30, 2009, 335 of 340 Drexel students who took the state exam passed, giving the College a 98.5 percent pass-rate.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has had a high pass-rate, more than 95 percent, since its first graduating class in 2002. The success rate has remained high even as enrollment in the nursing program has grown.

Drexel’s nursing program uses year-end review courses, practice testing and a full-time faculty member to help struggling students prepare for the rigorous exams, said Mary Ellen Glasgow, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, associate dean for nursing and undergraduate health professions, who helped design the curriculum.

“I wanted to create a system to fulfill our ethical obligation to students who come here so that they can pass the exams," she said. “To do high-volume, high-quality is quite difficult, and we're thrilled as a college that we've been able to do that.”

Another feature of Drexel’s nursing program is the University’s nationally-recognized cooperative education program, known as “co-op.” In co-ops students alternate classes with full-time professional employment in their field of study. Generally, students are on co-op for a six-month period, alternating with six months of classroom study.

The College of Nursing and Health Professionals was the first in Pennsylvania to offer a co-operative education program for nursing students. The co-op program places nursing students in real-world clinical environments allowing them to further hone their skills for the exam and careers after graduation.

Technology also plays a major role in the success of Drexel’s nursing students. In 2001, the College of Nursing and Health Professions began giving students handheld devices to access drug and medical databases.

In September 2009, the College equipped 300 nursing students with Internet-enabled Apple iPod Touch devices loaded with the medical reference software. This made the latest drug information, including newly discovered side effects and industry alerts available to students in the classroom or clinical settings.


News Media Contact:

Noah Cohen, Office of University Relations 215-895-2705 or

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