2020 MEPN Graduating Class Earns 100% NCLEX Pass Rate

2020 MEPN Graduating Class Earns 100% NCLEX Pass Rate

Dean Jane M. Georges and the faculty and staff of the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science congratulate the MEPN class of 2020 for earning a 100% NCLEX pass rate! 


Associate Dean Kathy Marsh said USD SON has always had high pass rates, but this one is special.

“I was so excited because this is the first time we had a 100% pass rate on top of that, in the middle of a pandemic.”

In fact, it was mid-March when students stopped coming to class and the program went “virtual.” Dr. Marsh said these MEPN students did not miss a beat.

“What really hit me was this group of students, all along, when it became obvious that we were going to make a change in the clinicals and they might not be in the hospital and they might not even graduate on time, this group, the class of 2020, wanted to just get out there and work,” Marsh said.  “I got so many emails saying, ‘I'll do anything. I just want to be out there on the front lines. I can do it. I'm ready. I've trained for this.’ Not once did anybody say, ‘I'm afraid that I might get COVID or bring it to my family,’ not once did I hear that, and it was just really amazing. That says something about the character of these students.”

The NCLEX, which is the National Council Licensure Examination, is developed to test the competency of nursing school graduates.  In California, graduates must pass this test before they are licensed.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the NCLEX developers, released statistics on 2020 exam-takers, and among those who took the exam in the United States, 92.6% passed on their first attempt. 

In all, 53 USD SON MEPN students took the NCLEX and all 53 passed.  One of them is Michelle Lewis.

Michelle Lewis

“Oh gosh, you do not have a life at all; your life is the MEPN program, Lewis said. “The program is so rigorous where every day it’s learning something new or you're looking something up or you have homework assignments.”

That rigor and the efforts of a dedicated facility helped Michelle pass the NCLEX, although she does acknowledge that learning in 2020 was a little different than expected. 

“I think it was two things,” Lewis said. “I know personally for me when the pandemic hit that changed learning. It was an adjustment; almost a shock. I was so used to being in-person and asking questions. And so that was a huge adjustment that I had to get over to make sure that I was staying focused and learning while at home because when you're home, it can be really distracting.”

When it came time for her to study for the NCLEX, she used that same mindset. It was that that laser focus, even in a pandemic, that also helped her land what she calls her dream job; she recently began working as an RN in the Trauma PCU at UCSD Heath.

“I have wanted to work at UCSD for the longest time, specifically Hillcrest,” Lewis said. “I did a preceptorship and an internship there and I just love the system at UCSD. I love how they incorporate research and they're a teaching hospital. And that's what I really wanted to be a part of. I wanted to be on that cutting edge of research and nursing.”

Michelle Lewis

Her advice to current and future MEPNS: Don’t give up.  You have had the training; you know what to do.  Associate Dean Kathy Marsh echoes that sentiment.

“By the time they finished the MEPN program, they are ready to get out there and be nurses on the front lines, not only nurses but nurses with a graduate degree that really see things on a bigger picture, rather than just the patient and the bed they see the whole unit or the healthcare system. I think this MEPN program, these students are just dynamos.”

Lewis also recommends getting involved with organizations such as the San Diego Black Nurses Association.  Lewis was introduced to the group by its president and USD SON clinical professor Samantha Gambles Farr.  She said the group helped her prepare for the NCLEX and assisted in helping her get her dream job.

“Without this organization,” Lewis said, “I would not be where I am today.”

To hear what a typical day is like for Michelle Lewis, click here

To hear more from Dr. Marsh and Michelle, click here

begin quoteThis is the first time we have had 100% pass rate and on top of that, in the middle of a pandemic - Associate Dean Kathy Marsh
MEPN 2020 Class

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