By Selene Rodriguez
South Texas College Vocational Nursing Instructor Eloisa Reyna was recently selected by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to contribute in the development of questions for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a critical step for graduates to become licensed registered nurses.
With a career of 25 years as a nurse and educator, Reyna’s expertise earned her the notable distinction, to help shape the immediate future of nursing education in the United States and ensure that aspiring professionals all around the country meet the highest standards that the much-needed profession demands.
“The NCSBN is renowned for its rigorous standards so it’s rare for nursing educators to be chosen for such an esteemed responsibility. Her achievement places her among an elite group of professionals who are shaping the quality of health care delivery,” said STC’s Dean for Nursing and Allied Health Jayson Valerio, DNP, RN. “Her hard work, dedication, and passion for the field are genuinely admirable. We are incredibly proud to have her as a part of the South Texas College family.”
Both exams, the NCLEX, for registered nurses and the NCLEX-PN for vocational nurses, are updated every 3 years and have recently gone through significant changes, with the latest revision placing a substantial emphasis on case scenarios.
“Being selected for such an important role seemed intimidating at first, but as I started working on these questions, I realized that’s what I do every day at STC; help students become the best nurses they can be,” Reyna said. “Before, I only knew about the questions, but now I take part in creating them. This not only helps me better prepare my students, but also share insights with my fellow faculty at STC.”
After receiving approval from the Texas Board of Nursing, Reyna traveled to Chicago in December 2023 where she collaborated with 16 experienced educators from all over the country on a panel tasked with crafting questions for the 2026 exam.
“In 2021, the NCSBN modified its clinical judgement model and the test is now heavily based on case studies, which is the category I participated in,” she explained. “We detail a scenario and then write six follow-up questions, testing the students on more hands-on, real-life skills.”
She added that this new generation of testing encourages students to develop a better sense of decision-making, improving their ability to recognize important signs and symptoms that can be critical for saving lives.
“Nursing educators from all over the country can apply to volunteer, but few are selected,” Reyna added. “They hold these panels with nursing educators twice a year, and then meet with expert clinicians to review them because they truly know what’s needed out there in the field. It’s a long process.”
Reyna, 52, started her outstanding career in Laredo College (LC), where she earned a Certified Nursing Assistant certification in 1996, and continued her education to become a vocational nurse in 1999 and a registered nurse in 2002.
While dedicating 15 years of service at both Laredo Medical Center and Doctors Hospital of Laredo, she discovered a passion for teaching by engaging with students during their clinical rotations, returning to Laredo College as an adjunct instructor.
She was then inspired to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and finally became a full-time instructor.
“My mission is for future generations of nurses to not only learn the scientific aspects of nursing, but also apply compassion and use their hearts when treating patients,” she said. “I hope this makes them better nurses.”
Due to family-related reasons, Reyna moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 2014, finding a new challenge and exciting future at STC, where she not only serves as an instructor, but also academic coach and simulation coordinator for the program.
“I love working here, after almost 10 years of living in the RGV, I can certainly say that STC has my heart,” she said. “I love the people I work with and the encouragement from my superiors to further my education and experience new opportunities such as this one. It has allowed me to grow personally and professionally.”
It was precisely that encouragement that motivated her to earn a master’s degree in Nursing Education from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and to become a Certified Nurse Educator.
“I believe my graduate education and certification as an educator played a key role in why I was selected. I had an amazing time networking with other participants some of whom were program directors or teach at a graduate level,” said Reyna. “I am excited I had the opportunity to represent our college, specifically our Vocational Nursing program. I can’t wait to see how the questions I wrote come out in the exam, after the revisions. Hopefully, I get to participate again in the future.”
For more information about STC’s Nursing and Allied Health programs visit nah.southtexascollege.edu/ or call 956-872-3100.