Common variables found among students who were unsuccessful on the NCLEX-RN® in a baccalaureate nursing program

Lindsay Domiano


Schools of nursing (SON) must meet the challenges of producing safe, competent practitioners. Educators are constantly trying to identify predictors of program completion and National Council Licensure Examination–Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) success, as well as variables that put students at risk for failure. The purpose of this study was to determine common variables among students from a baccalaureate-nursing program who were unsuccessful in the nursing program or on the NCLEX-RN®. This cross sectional research study utilized a retrospective correlational design to discover the relationships between independent variables of degree and cumulative GPAs, specific courses repeated, number of repeated courses and whether the student had full-time or part-time clinical faculty members and the independent variables program non-completion and NCLEX-RN® failure. The theoretical underpinning that guided this study was Bandura’s Social-Cognitive Theory of Self-Efficacy. Data analyses were conducted using a series of crosstabulations with chi-square analysis and t-tests. The research questions were investigated using binary logistic regressions. The relationship between repeated chemistry courses and NCLEX-RN® examination success was significant. Relationships between repeated English, math, chemistry and other science courses and nursing program failure were significant. Cumulative GPAs were significantly lower for all groups analyzed. Two binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine variables that would predict students who failed to complete the program or failed the NCLEX-RN®. Overall both models were significant. Results may be utilized to modify admission requirements and admit students that have a higher probability of being successful in the nursing program and on the NCLEX-RN®.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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