June 17, 2013

Area patients, health care facilities and prospective students can feel confident that the training provided by Southeastern Illinois College’s nursing programs is top-notch, as the institution’s pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) continue to exceed both state and nationwide averages.

Students in both the Practical Nursing (PN) and Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs must pass the NCLEX in order to obtain a license. The PN students from the 2012 class at Southeastern had a perfect 100 percent pass rate, as opposed to an 85 percent statewide rate and 84 percent nationwide rate. In the ADN program, SIC had a 95 percent pass rate, exceeding the state rate of 91 percent and the national rate of 90 percent. This marks several consecutive years in which SIC’s rate has significantly exceeded state and national rates.

Crystal Maloney of Harrisburg was a member of the 2012 ADN class.

“I found a job immediately after taking boards,” said Maloney, who works in the emergency department at Herrin Hospital.

Of her class’s high pass rate, Maloney said, “I am proud and grateful because it shows that we were taught and given the proper information to help us pass. I am especially grateful for the wonderful teachers, who gave us awesome resources, to help our dreams come true.”

Brittany Roberts of Eldorado, a member of the 2011 PN class which had a 97 percent pass rate, is currently working at Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado. The reputation of the SIC program is so strong that she actually had a job offer waiting for her before she had even completed her NCLEX examination.

“It shows that our determination and hard work paid off; that our teachers entrusted us with the knowledge that we needed,” Roberts said of being from a class with such a high pass rate. “SIC has such a rich nursing history and I am proud to be a part of that history.”

Amy Murphy, SIC’s Director of Nursing, said that a number of measures had been taken both to improve and maintain pass rates, and to enhance preparedness for nurses starting their careers.

“We use Assessment Technology Institute (ATI) resources in both the ADN and PN programs, and will be adding some additional ATI resources next year, with only a small increase in fees for our students to help pay for that,” Murphy said. “The live ATI NCLEX review held at the end of each program is one of our most valuable tools.  Following the live review, the students take a comprehensive review exam that is very similar to the NCLEX exam.  This scores them with a probability of passing NCLEX on the first attempt.  SIC requires students to achieve 92 percent probability before they are cleared to take boards.”

Murphy noted that in addition to those measures, care plan writing, case studies, concept mapping, and even use of pediatric and adult patient simulators have enhanced the SIC nursing student experience and provide valuable risk-free training to allow students to assimilate what they learn in the classroom for application at their clinical sites.  "These activities do not directly lead them to exam answers, but it does increase their ability to prioritize and think critically about the exam questions.  There is now a great deal of emphasis placed on prioritization in nursing exam writing,” said Murphy.

The 2012 nursing graduates came at the end of the second year in which the program moved from considerably overcrowded and outdated space in the college’s main academic meetings to space in the newly-renovated Robert I. Gregg Technology Center, which opened in time for the Fall 2010 semester.

“The larger lab space has greatly enhanced our lab teaching ability,” Murphy said. “We now have 10 computers in the lab space that can be incorporated into lab teaching experiences. The larger classrooms are not only more comfortable, but the improved technology in the rooms allows use of a variety of media.”

Roberts offered a strong endorsement of a program that saw her through her studies and to her new career.

“I couldn't have asked for a better place for my education as an adult. They teach you that Nursing is not a job or a paycheck, it was a way of life, a lifestyle,” Roberts said. “I feel that anyone who would not utilize SIC for any programs that they offer and classes especially the Nursing program would be passing up great opportunities.”

The Southeastern Illinois College nursing program began in 1955 with a class of 13 students in what is now Harrisburg High School.  It was the only program of its kind in Illinois, south of St. Louis, at that time.  Since then, it has grown to approximately 100 students each year and includes online and traditional classes, as well as full- and part-time options. For more information on nursing, contact Amy Murphy, director of nursing, at 618-252-5400, ext. 2330 or, or visit