An Educational Program for Internationally Educated Nurses in Preparatin for the NCLEX-RN Exam

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Luanne Linnard-Palmer, EdD, RN

Thesis Advisor

Barbara Ganley, PhD, RN, HNC


Shortfalls of registered nurses are predicted to be 275,215 in 2010 and 808,416 nationally in the year 2020. The domestically educated nursing workforce is currently not sufficient to meet the U.S. healthcare needs, nor to meet the projected demand of an aging population over the next ten to twenty years. Consequently, health care is rapidly turning to nurses educated internationally in attempts to mitigate this shortage. However, successfully passing the stringent U.S. licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN, has become increasingly challenging for these international nurses, with the first time pass rate in 2008 being 45.3% to the pass rate of 86.7% for U.S. nurses. With internationally educated nurses eager to meet the demand of the U.S. shortfall, it is essential to find ways to improve their NCLEX-RN pass rates.

During the course of this project, assessment data was collected from the Kaplan Test Prep Company Diagnostic Tests of 58 internationally educated nurses who had enrolled in a Kaplan NCLEX-RN prep course in several centers in California and one in London, England. It was determined from this test that the areas that showed significant weakness were “Health Promotion and Maintenance” and "Management of Care in correlation with the NCLEX-RN test plan.

A two day course was created centered around those topics of weakness to provide knowledge and critical thinking skills to enable the nurses to improve their scores on their exam. Upon completion of this course, of the nine nurses who have tested, seven have passed and two have failed, which makes the pass rate for this group of internationally educated nurses 78%. As this program demonstrates, it is possible to create a course of study for these nurses to enable them to increase their NCLEX-RN pass rates.