Pathophysiology and pharmacology course grades and prediction of success in a graduate nurse practitioner program

Maureen Courtney, John Gonzalez, Daisha Cipher, Deborah Lewis, Lynda Jarrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:During a program review, faculty identified that nurse practitioner (NP) students who received a C grade in Advanced Pathophysiology (Patho) and Advanced Pharmacology (Pharm) appeared to perform poorly in the later NP management courses and on other program outcomes.Purpose:The research aimed to determine whether grades in graduate Patho and Pharm courses could predict performance in NP management courses, program progression and completion, and certification pass rates.Methodology:This research included deidentified student data from 2016 to 2018 across seven NP specialty tracks (n = 4,575). Nonparametric and parametric tests were used in the analysis.Results:A significant correlation (p <.001) existed between Patho and Pharm grades. Lower grades in these two courses were significantly related to each other and to lower management course grades. Logistic regression showed that graduate pathophysiology grades significantly predicted certification examination performance, with lower grades associated with lower certification examination performance. Graduate pharmacology grades, pathophysiology grades, composite management course grades, and admission grade point average (GPA) significantly predicted final cumulative GPA, with lower grades associated with lower performance for all variables.Conclusions:Results of this research support the hypothesis that grades of C in Patho or Pharm courses significantly predict C performance in the management NP courses and lower certification success rates.Implications:The project model can be used in future research. Study findings can be helpful to NP faculty when considering curriculum decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2024


  • Certification pass rates
  • master of science in nursing program
  • nurse practitioner curriculum
  • nurse practitioner education
  • nurse practitioner student progression
  • pathophysiology course
  • pharmacology course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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