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Students in Nursing HITS Lab simulation.

Graduates from the College of Nursing at UT had one of the highest first-time pass rates in the 2018 National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN)—97.2 percent.

This pass rate is higher than both the national average of 88.3 percent and the Tennessee average of 92.1 percent.

The test, administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, is used to determine which candidates are adequately prepared to enter real-life practice and work as registered nurses.

2018 College of Nursing Graduates pose in front of the Torchbearer.

“The undergraduate faculty work diligently in both the classroom and clinical environments to prepare our students,” said Shelia Swift, assistant dean of undergraduate programs in the college. “As a result of the faculty’s hard work and the use of educational resources available, UT College of Nursing students continue to be successful in passing NCLEX and functioning in the role of professional nurses.”

A total of 141 UT Knoxville nursing graduates took the test for the first time in 2018, and 137 passed the exam.

“As this licensure exam to become a registered nurse is becoming more challenging, we recognize the importance of teaching our students not only critical nursing skills but critical thinking as well,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the college. “I believe this has contributed to these successful pass rates and, equally important, to our graduates’ readiness for nursing practice.”

UT expects to expand enrollment in its undergraduate nursing program from 800 to 1,260 students by 2022, Niederhauser said: “An increase in enrollment is one of the ways we will address the nation’s shortage of nurses. Our goal is to produce high-quality professionals that will go on to provide care to patients all over Tennessee and America.”

In addition to the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, UT’s College of Nursing offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a RN to BSN track as well as graduate degrees and advanced practice certifications, with online and blended formats available for selected programs.


Andrea Schneibel (865-974-3993,