100% first-time pass rate for nurse anesthesia

2017 UAB class scores on National Certification Exam surge high above national average
By Laura Lesley

The 2017 graduating class of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track has achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Certification Exam (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists exam.

Nurse anesthesia 100Assistant Professor and Assistant Program Director Todd Hicks explains a procedure to students during a recent nurse anesthesia intensive. The 2017 national average for those taking the exam to pass on their first time to take it is 82.6 percent, making the UAB Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2017’s accomplishment particularly impressive.

“These students wanted to achieve a 100 percent first-time board pass. It was hard, challenging and committed work, but they put their heart and soul into it,” said Associate Professor and Specialty Track Coordinator Susan McMullan, PhD, CRNA. “Their effort certainly paid off.”

McMullan, who joined the faculty in early 2015, and her nurse anesthesia colleagues in the School, Assistant Professor and Assistant Program Director Todd Hicks, DNP, MNA, CRNA, Assistant Professor Bryan Wilbanks, DNP, CRNA, Assistant Professor Edwin Aroke, PhD, MSN, CRNA, and Instructor Kaitlen Woodfin, MSN, CRNA collaborated to update the curriculum and adjust board review materials to ensure success on the NCE exam.

“Many adjustments were made, and we worked hard to improve the rigor of the curriculum,” said McMullan. “Ultimately, the students did the work, and their exam results demonstrate their dedication and motivation.”

McMullan notes: “They are a really cohesive group. And I’m proud to share that they all have all secured desirable positions and will be employed within three months of graduation.”

This is one of the last cohorts in the School to graduate with an MSN in Nurse Anesthesia. The Nurse Anesthesia Pathway is now a component of the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. It received accreditation from The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthetists (COA) in November 2016 and the first cohort of 39 BSN-to-DNP students began their program of study in May 2017.

The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

Last modified on January 26, 2018

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