At a time when people need them most, many students of nursing pass their license exams at the University of Tennessee.

Officials said college of nursing graduates had one of the highest first-time pass rates on the 2020 National Council entrance exam at 98.5%. The rate is higher than the national average of 86.6% and the Tennessee average of 91.6%.

The test is used to ensure that students and candidates are ready to go into practice in hospitals and work as nurses after graduation. It is administered by the National Council of State Nursing Offices.

Officials said 131 UTK graduates of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing took the exam for the first time in 2020.

“Our faculty loved preparing a resilient nursing workforce to meet the needs of the state and state of Tennessee,” said Sadie Hutson, college dean. “Our nursing graduates consistently demonstrate a high level of proficiency and positive impact on the health of the communities in which they work and live.”