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REF NO.: 7

SUBJECT: Memorial University nursing graduates perform well on new licensing exam

DATE: Sept. 11

Results of an American licensing examination introduced in 2015 for new graduates of nursing schools across Canada have been released.

The outcomes of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) show that graduates of Memorial University’s School of Nursing had a higher rate of success than the American average. American students have been writing the exam for the last 30 years.

“This certainly speaks to the quality of our graduates and their preparation, particularly because this is the first time that Canadian students have written the NCLEX licensing exam,” said Dr. Alice Gaudine, dean, School of Nursing, Memorial University.

The NCLEX exam was introduced in Canada in 2015, replacing the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination (CRNE) for entry-to-practice. The online NCLEX examination has been administered by the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing for many years in the United States.

“Moving to a new examination that is computer-based and developed by an American body is very challenging. We are proud of our students for performing so well under these circumstances,” said Dr. Gaudine.

While the decision to replace the CRNE was announced in late 2011 by Canadian regulators in all provinces except Quebec, its implementation has been controversial. The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, many nursing educators and other nursing organizations across the country are in disagreement with this decision.

“We commend Memorial University and its graduates on their outstanding results,” said Kirsten Woodend, president, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. “Unfortunately, not all Canadian schools have managed the same success. The new entry-to-practice exam was supposed to be adapted to Canadian requirements, what has happened instead is that Canadian schools are having to do their best to prepare their students to pass an American exam that fails to address the Canadian context.”

“We are hopeful that the Canadian regulators will change to a Canadian exam, based on Canadian standards, for entry-to-practice,” said Dr. Gaudine. “In the meantime, we believe in all of our graduates, and we will work with them and our provincial regulator until they have all passed the American exam.”

The American system of health care differs from the Canadian health care context. The NCLEX exam is based on American nursing requirements. New nursing graduates across Canada have struggled with the exam. Higher than previous failure rates has prompted Canadian nursing organizations such as the Ontario Nurses’ Association to ask that students be allowed to rewrite the exam, as is permitted in many states, and that they be granted temporary registration until they succeed with the exam.

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For more information, please contact Marcia Porter, communications co-ordinator, School of Nursing, at 709-777-2165 or mlporter@mun.ca.

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