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Knight Nation continues to "Charge On" as the UCF College of Nursing earns yet another top nation ranking.

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) ranks UCF Nursing among the top four percent of programs in the nation, reporting that 98 percent of graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing pass the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt.

"Graduating from a nursing school that is considered one of the top in the state means everything to me. It is the reason I attended UCF," recent nursing graduate Leah Morissette said.

The NCLEX tests for minimum competency and is required of candidates to pass for licensure as a registered nurse. Morissette said UCF Nursing goes well above the minimum criteria.

"We are required to take critical care classes, etc., that prepare us for not only passing NCLEX, but becoming the best nurses we can be in our chosen fields," she said. "The nurses they produce are above minimum competency and is shown by the large amount of recent graduates hired to the specialty units in the Orlando area."

UCF graduates are reported to surpass the 72-percent average and the national pass rate of 82 percent, according to UCF Today.

"UCF achieves such high passing scores because UCF goes above and beyond what is required for NCLEX," Morissette said.

Morissette graduated in May and is set to take the exam in June.

Dr. Kelly Allred, coordinator of basic and second-degree BSN programs, said the success of the high-pass rate of the college starts with an "excellent" student, and from there, the faculty and clinical partners aim to educate the practice and promote success for students ready to take on the exam.

"Passing NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse is the goal of nursing school. Students should look for a nursing program with high-pass rates so they have the best chance of success," Allred said.

The high-pass rate comes after other achievements and rankings made by the college.

UCF became the first in the state to offer an online Ph.D. program for nursing students to have the opportunity to access world-class research facilities.

This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF's online nursing programs among the top 25 nationwide, and also one of the best online graduate programs for veterans.

"The success of the nursing program at UCF speaks volumes to the staff and faculty who educate the nurses of tomorrow. I am proud of my education and my accomplishments during the program," nursing graduate Tommy Bolsega said.

Bolsega is an active duty service member in the United States Navy and has been in the military for nearly 14 years. He was accepted to a commissioning program that allowed him to attend the school full time. Bolsega participated in the Honors of the Major program while also taking care of his wife and children.

Commissioned as a naval officer, Bolsega is set to serve as a nurse for the Navy.

"The program is very well structured from top to bottom and the curriculum prepares students not only for the NCLEX, but the career beyond school," Bolsega said.

The UCF Nursing online program remains the only Florida school to make it into the top 25 programs.

"We are very proud of our Knight nurses," Allred said.

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Marina Guerges is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @marinaguerges or email her at MarinaG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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