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Nursing class of 2023 has perfect first-time pass rate

August 25th, 2023

Four Bethel nursing students observe a classmate trying out VR equipment.

The Department of Nursing recently got good news about its most recent graduating class: a 100% pass rate, on the first try, for the NCLEX exam.

All nursing graduates in the United States are required to take the nursing exam known as the NCLEX in order to practice as registered nurses. If an individual doesn’t pass the first time, they can take the exam again.

For the second consecutive year, Bethel’s nursing class had a perfect pass rate the first time out.

“A 100% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam is a huge accomplishment for our nursing program, especially two years in a row,” said Becky Bartell, director of the nursing department. “I am proud of our students, faculty and staff.

“Our students were dedicated throughout the program and worked tirelessly to prepare for the exam. Faculty also spent hours preparing the students to pass the NCLEX-RN.”

Bartell went on to explain that a perfect pass rate is great any time, but it’s become even more difficult to achieve. 

“A 100% first-time pass rate is a huge accomplishment in any year,” she said, “but on April 1, the NCLEX-RN exam changed to the Next Generation NCLEX, or NGN.”

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, “The NGN launched on April 1, 2023, to better measure nursing candidates’ clinical judgment and decision-making abilities through the use of innovative item types. The need to measure this stemmed from information gathered during the 2013-14 NCBSN Strategic Practice Analysis, which showed newly licensed nurses are increasingly expected to make complex decisions while caring for patients.

“As faculty, we have been preparing for the change to the NGN,” Bartell said, “but we were unsure exactly how this would impact our pass rates. We couldn't have hoped for a better outcome.”

This past March, when the Kansas State Board of Nursing released the first-time pass rates for all of the 2022 Kansas nursing classes, Bethel was the only one to achieve 100%. Next March, faculty will find out how the Class of 2023 stacked up.

However, Bartell said, “our ultimate goal is to live out our department mission of educating exemplary generalist nurses who are committed to the pursuit of transformational nursing service, leadership and scholarship within a global community. We don't want our students to just pass the exam, we want them to be great nurses.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see

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Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.