Better Than Perfect: Nurse practitioner students receive 100 percent pass rate — again!

Dr. Donna Rolin with psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner students

Question: How do you improve on perfection? Answer: By being perfect every time.

Since its inception, students of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program at UT Austin School of Nursing have received a 100 percent pass rate on the American Nurses Credentialing Center board certification exams, the only board-certified exam in the nation. This means that all 111 students who graduated between 2011 and 2019 passed the rigorous exam on the first try.

“This stellar result speaks not only to the quality of our PMHNP program, but also the quality of our students,” Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC and clinical associate professor, said. “Because we have such high-quality applicants, we get to be very selective. That every student passes their first attempt every year shows a great deal of competence.”

The pass rates are especially astounding compared to the national pass rate, which is 88.5 percent. In 2018, 2,451 students took the exam across the nation with 2,170 passing. During the more than 200-question exam, students are tested on their knowledge of health policy, identification of symptoms, diagnosis, identification of developmental stages and psychopharmacology.

The School of Nursing program is mostly face-to-face classroom instruction with some online courses.

“The classroom portion is a highly valuable part of the program and important to psychiatric nursing,” Dr. Rolin said. “In addition, our faculty are constantly updating the curriculum to ensure that everything is current science and pharmacology.”

“These pass rates are exciting and tell us a lot about the high-level of our curriculum and faculty,” Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing, said. “We couldn’t be more proud of them and these students.”