Canadian Nurses Association declares made- and owned-in-Canada RN entry exam essential

OTTAWA, Jan. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - In an announcement this morning, Canadian Nurses Association president Judith Shamian presented a declaration of essential principles for the development of a made- and owned-in-Canada registered nurse (RN) entry exam. Concerns have been growing since December when 10 of Canada's RN regulators selected the American-based National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to develop a new computer-based RN entry exam. NCSBN announced it would bring the existing American exam, the NCLEX-RN®, to Canada for the purpose of licensing new nurses.

"As the professional voice of RNs across the country, we have a responsibility to speak out for a made- and owned-in-Canada exam," said Shamian. "The issue of how we qualify RNs for practice is paramount to the effective self-regulation of the nursing profession and the safe delivery of health care to Canadians."

Selecting a U.S.-based organization, which has announced its intent to deliver the existing American exam, raises the question of whether such an exam could be applicable to Canadian nursing and this country's health-care system. The declaration outlines principles that are essential to any negotiations undertaken for the development of Canada's RN entry-to-practice exam and how issues of content, privacy and mobility must be addressed. Furthermore, since RN regulators operate under the authority of provincial and territorial governments, the declaration calls upon those governments to ensure the regulators implement and uphold the principles and maintain the RN entry exam's Canadian ownership.

"What we ultimately need from Canada's RN regulators is assurance that they will be accountable to these principles," said Shamian. "Their function is to set and maintain standards that support the delivery of safe, quality health care to meet the needs of Canadians. It's not in the best interests of the nursing profession or patient safety to have an exam owned and developed outside our country."

RN regulators in each province and territory decide which entry exam is to be used in their jurisdiction; that exam determines whether a new RN is qualified to practise in Canada's health-care system. Currently, nursing candidates in every province and territory except for Quebec take the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination. This would be the first time the NCLEX-RN® exam is used for the purpose of licensure outside of the U.S.

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system. 

ENSURING A CANADIAN SOLUTION FOR THE RN ENTRY EXAM

A DECLARATION BY THE CANADIAN NURSES ASSOCIATION

On December 2, 2011, 10 of Canada's provincial and territorial registered nurse (RN) regulators chose the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) — an American organization — to develop a new Canadian computer‐based RN entry exam. This means that if the contract with NCSBN is finalized, the current exam, the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE), likely will no longer exist and the new one will have its origins in the United States by as early as 2015.

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is deeply concerned about this decision and declares that the RN regulators must commit to take action to protect the integrity of Canada's RN entry‐to‐practice exam. As the national professional voice of RNs in Canada, CNA promotes high standards of nursing practice in the public interest. CNA recognizes that the public places a high level of trust in the nursing profession and that protecting this trust is paramount. CNA recognizes and respects the authority and responsibility of RN regulators to regulate and support competent, safe practice in Canada.

Choosing a U.S.‐based organization, which has announced its intent to deliver the existing American exam (the NCLEX), raises questions as to such an exam's applicability to Canadian nursing and our health‐care system. As the guardians of quality nursing care in Canada, CNA declares that a Canadian RN entry exam is in the best interests of new nursing graduates and the public.

Therefore, CNA declares that the following seven principles are essential to any negotiations:

  1. The decision must not have a negative impact on Canada's RN recruitment and retention strategies.
  2. Canadian exam data and personal information must not be subject to the USA Patriot Act and must be housed and protected in Canada according to Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
  3. The new computer‐based RN entry exam must promote, maintain and align with the curriculum of Canadian schools of nursing.
  4. The new computer‐based RN entry exam must reflect the unique character, qualities and values of the Canadian publicly funded, not‐for‐profit health system, including:
    • a focus on primary health care, health promotion and injury/disease prevention;
    • Canadian legislation that affects nursing practice, such as the requirement to report child abuse;
    • respect for Canada's cultural diversity and societal values, such as the inclusion of the health needs of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples, social justice and a focus on the determinants of health; and
    • the Canadian Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.
  5. The new computer‐based RN entry exam must reflect 100 per cent Canadian content.
  6. RNs from across the country representing all domains of nursing must continue to participate in the development of the new computer‐based RN entry exam.
  7. Canadian francophone RNs must continue to develop 25 per cent of the new computer‐based RN entry exam questions in French, and must continue to review all French translation.

CNA declares that a made‐ and owned‐in‐Canada exam that offers and tests our students on Canadian content, similar to other professions like medicine, pharmacy, engineering, accounting and more, is required to attain the seven principles above and to protect the integrity of Canadian RN standards and patient safety.

Since RN regulators operate under the authority of provincial and territorial governments, CNA calls upon Canada's governments to guarantee the seven principles are implemented and upheld by RN regulators across the country, and that Canadian ownership of the RN entry exam is maintained

SOURCE CANADIAN NURSES ASSOCIATION

For further information:

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca

 

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CANADIAN NURSES ASSOCIATION

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