SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 09, 2015 14:18 ET

University of Calgary concerned with content of new Registered Nursing exam

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - September 09, 2015) - In the first half of 2015, Alberta nursing schools including the University of Calgary, have seen a significant reduction in the number of graduates pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) required to qualify for their licences to practice as registered nurses -- the first cohort to take an American-based test.

The decision to adopt the NCLEX was taken unilaterally and without consultation with nursing educators and other nursing leaders in late 2012, and nursing educators and organizations have raised numerous concerns with this change in the years since. Nursing is the only one of our health professions to have adopted a non-Canadian entry-to-practice exam.

University of Calgary graduates from Faculty of Nursing are among the first group across Canada that took the NCLEX-RN between January 1 and June 30, 2015.

The NCLEX-RN is owned an administered by the United States' National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and replaces the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) formerly administered by an arm of the Canadian Nurses' Association. The overall number of Alberta nursing graduates who passed the new test over the first six months of 2015 was 68.7 per cent, below the national average of 70.6 per cent. This is well below recent Alberta pass rates which have been upwards of 90 per cent, under the previous Canadian test.

Canada is currently the only non-American jurisdiction that uses the NCLEX to qualify its nurses to practice in their own country. Students at the University of Calgary have reported encountering several questions on the exam that test American-based knowledge not applicable to Canadian entry-level nursing competencies.

Dianne Tapp, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary is very concerned that the content of the NCLEX puts Canadian students at a disadvantage as they attempt to earn their RN qualifications.

Dianne Tapp will be available to speak to media today, September 9, from 2 - 3:30 p.m.

Interviews, in person or over the phone, can be scheduled by calling Media Relations.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

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