March 3, 2015

Area patients, health care facilities and prospective students can feel confident that the training provided by Southeastern Illinois College’s nursing programs is top-notch, as the institution’s pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) continue to exceed both state and nationwide averages each year.

Students in both the Practical Nursing (PN) and Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs must pass the NCLEX in order to obtain a license. Licensure examination results from testing between June and December 2014 show that 41 of SIC’s 42 PN students earned passing scores – meaning SIC students had a 98 percent pass rate, as opposed to an 86 percent statewide pass rate and 82 percent nationwide rate. 

The pass rate was even greater for SIC’s ADN program.  SIC had a 100 percent pass rate, exceeding the state rate of 84 percent and the national rate of 82 percent. SIC’s ADN program is one of only three active programs in the state to achieve 100 percent pass rates.

“These exemplary pass rates signify dedication from our students and faculty,” said Gina Sirach, RN/MSN, longtime nursing instructor at SIC, who now serves as Dean of Academic Services. “The nursing faculty has worked very hard to keep the curriculum relevant and up-to-date. This achievement demonstrates the excellent academic and clinical preparation nursing students receive in our program. We are very thankful for our many clinical partners who provide excellent opportunities to assist us in ensuring achievement of learning outcomes for our students.”

Amy Murphy, SIC’s Director of Nursing, said that a number of measures had been taken both to improve and maintain pass rates, and to enhance preparedness for nurses starting their careers. The program uses Assessment Technology Institute (ATI) resources in both the ADN and PN programs, which provides a review exam similar to the NCLEX.  Murphy says this scores them with a probability of passing NCLEX on the first attempt, and SIC requires students to achieve 92 percent probability before they are cleared to take boards.”

In addition to those measures, Murphy noted that care plan writing, case studies, concept mapping, and even use of pediatric and adult patient simulators have enhanced the SIC nursing student experience and provide valuable risk-free training to allow students to assimilate what they learn in the classroom for application at their clinical sites. 

"These activities do not directly lead them to exam answers, but it does increase their ability to prioritize and think critically about the exam questions,” said Murphy.

The Southeastern Illinois College nursing program began in 1955 with a class of 13 students in what is now Harrisburg High School.  It was the only program of its kind in Illinois, south of St. Louis, at that time.  Since then, it has grown to approximately 100 students each year and includes online and traditional classes, as well as full- and part-time options. For more information on nursing, contact Amy Murphy, director of nursing, at 618-252-5400, ext. 2330 or, or visit