"It is always a great surprise that our students do as well as they do," she said. "It's encouraging, and I'm glad they listened and were prepared for the harder exam this year."
Nationally, passing rates declined from close to 90 percent to 83 percent with the board's modification of exam questions taking effect April 1. For nursing students in Utah, the passing rate dropped from 90 percent to 80 percent, but BYU students did not see a drop, maintaining a passing rate of 96 percent.
The national and state trends are common. When the NCLEX has changed in the past, passing rates have almost always dropped.
"I'm so proud of them that they listened and that they took it seriously and rose to the challenge," Beckstrand said. "They absolutely stepped up to the challenge."
Practice tests between each semester of school at BYU, as well as helpful professors and useful study suggestions, Burson said, gave her the edge to finish successfully.
Getting into the program is very competitive, so "everyone there is very focused and determined to do very well," she said. And, thankfully, her hard work has paid off.
Working in the ICU is stressful and difficult at times, Burson said, but also very rewarding.
"The patients are just really sick," she said. "It's a very high-acuity unit. You've got, in a sense, people's lives in your hands at any given moment."
The collaborative team environment and ability to work under pressure was partly what drew her to the unit, she said.
"Nursing is really an expression of my faith," Anderson said, adding that his education, coupled with his beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been life-changing.
The BYU College of Nursing slogan is "learning the healer's art," and Anderson, of Taylorsville, said he wants to help people heal in all aspects of their lives.
What he's learned, he said, has also helped his family get through the obstacles involved with having a child born with the same congenital heart defect he was born with.
"I have loved my experience at BYU," Anderson said. "I will always remember walking past a staff meeting in which the professors heads were all bowed in prayer and they were praying for us as students and so they could educate us properly. They want to help us be the best nurses we can be."
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