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The latest news from Northern Marianas College

Northern Marianas College nursing program alumni Merly-Ann Fernandez and Carl Pagcaliwagan recently joined the list of students who have passed the challenging National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or NCLEX-RN. Fernandez and Pagcaliwagan graduated from NMC in 2021.

The NCLEX-RN exam is the exam nursing graduates in the CNMI have to pass in order to be able to practice nursing. The exam tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities of nursing graduates in order to certify that they are equipped with the capability to apply entry level nursing practices correctly.

“It’s great to see more and more NMC nursing graduates pass the challenging NCLEX-RN,” NMC President Galvin Deleon Guerrero said. “I congratulate Merly-Ann and Carl on this accomplishment.”

NMC Nursing Department Chair Rosa Aldan also congratulated the two on their achievements.

“Merly-Ann and Carl have bright futures in the nursing field and we expect to see great things from them as their educational and professional journeys continue,” Aldan said.

Fernandez said that one contributing factor to her passing the test was being able to work at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s surgical ward as a graduate nurse.

“I was able to experience hands-on nursing care under the supervision of the charge nurse,” Fernandez said. “This experience allowed me to utilize my critical thinking and nursing instincts.”

Her advice for students planning to take the NCLEX is to study any time you can, as well as use all the available resources. 

Nursing grad Pagcaliwagan said that he decided to become a nurse because it was one of the science-based courses available on-island that piqued his interest. 

“Over time as I got through my general courses, the topics started narrowing down to more science specific classes,” Pagcaliwagan said. “Noticing how I enjoyed those classes, and the eventual topics of the Nursing Program itself, I felt like Nursing was something I could see myself doing.”

For students who plan to take NCLEX, Pagcaliwagan says to take steps to prevent mental burnout.

“Create a routine that works for you and keep it consistent," Pagcaliwagan said. “Take care of yourself first mentally and physically. Don't feel guilty about break days, we all need time off in order for our brains to process the information.”

For more information about NMC's nursing program, email NMC Nursing Department Chair Rosa T. Aldan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 237-6744.

Merly-Ann FernandezMerly-Ann Fernandez

Editor's Note: Pagcaliwagan requested to not have his photo included in this press release.