SHU's Nursing Students Achieve 99% First-Time Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University nursing students have aced their tests.

The University’s Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing class of 2020 graduates received a 99% first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). 

The NCLEX-RN is a standardized exam that nursing candidates must pass to enter the profession. Passing the exam results in licensure. SHU faculty, students and staff are proud of this momentous achievement. 

“The high first-time pass rate is a reflection of our program faculty’s dedication to student success, our curriculum plan and our talented students,” said Sherylyn Watson, associate dean of academic affairs and assistant professor in the Davis & Henley College of Nursing. “Despite the unprecedented times that faced our world, and especially our tri-state area last spring, our graduating class of 2020 persevered and was successful. The first professional degree (FPD) faculty rose to the challenge to support our students through this difficult and unsettling period. Our students met that challenge and were extremely successful. The first-time pass rate is a testament to the FPD faculty and students’ hard work and excellent program offerings.”

Heather Ferrillo, director of SHU’s FPD/second degree accelerated nursing programs and assistant professor, said the pass rate “exemplifies what sets the Davis & Henley College of Nursing apart from others.” She added that the 99% first-time pass rate is not just a report of test results, but rather a culmination of the students’ journey that starts with their liberal arts classes and continues through completion of the nursing program. 

“The Davis & Henley College of nursing’s FPD program prepares students in several ways,” Watson said. “The curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts and is scaffolded from fundamental concepts in nursing that progressively increases to more complex nursing concepts, such as clinical judgement.” 

The program is “very rigorous,” Watson added. Each upperclassman course includes standardized exams to measure students’ progression. In the last semester of the program, students in the senior synthesis course synthesize concepts and develop plans to help prep for the NCLEX-RN exam.  

“The first-time pass rate percentage tells us that we are educating safe and competent nurses that are going out into the world to make a difference,” Ferrillo said. “I am so proud of how hard both faculty and students have worked through challenges of the pandemic to get to this point.”


About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 386 Colleges–2021 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best Business Schools–2021 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre. www.sacredheart.edu


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