Thursday, October 30, 2014

The NCLEX-RN for Canadians… sorting out the misinformation

We are receiving many many many questions from Canadian students who are going to be writing the upcoming NCLEX-RN exam.

Most concerning are the myths that students are coming to us with.

For our first post on our new blog, we wanted to address 2 of the most common myths we hear from our Canadian students.

The NCLEX-RN is a Canadian version of the American exam

TRUTH = Students are writing the American NCLEX-RN

The NCLEX-RN is a computer adapted test.  This means the tests "adapts" itself to the individual writer, depending on how they respond to the questions.  If you get a question incorrect, you are asked an easier question, if you get it correctly, you are asked a harder question.
For this reason, every student writes what is essentially a different exam, although the program does take into account the competency categories and passing standard in determining pass/ fail rates.

Because it is computer adapted, the test-bank (the program houses the NCLEX-questions) is required to have hundreds of thousands of questions.
These questions have NOT all been adapted or tested on Canadian students.

Instead, there will be ongoing examination and reflection on the questions and questions which Canadian students consistently get wrong will be evaluated and possibly removed from the test bank.
In addition, Canadians can now become involved in the development of NCLEX-RN questions.

For students who are writing the NCLEX-RN exam, we cannot predict if you will or will not receive American focused questions.  Examples of these include questions about healthcare delivery in the USA, healthcare law and healthcare ethics which may be different from Canadian perspectives.

So students need to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam as though they will encounter American content.

Myth #2
Because the NCLEX-RN exam is designed for BSN & RN diploma prepared nurses, Canadian students (degree educated) will automatically be prepared for this exam.

Truth = Canadian nurses are educated and socialized into the nursing profession very differently from American nurses.  BSN preparation does not automatically prepare you for the NCLEX-RN.

The NCLEX-RN exam is heavily focused on pharmacology and pathophysiology.  Less emphasis is placed on community health, social determinants of health, culture and other nursing theories that are often heavily emphasized in Canadian nursing programs.
Some Canadian programs do not have specific pharmacology or physiology classes, and other programs do not focus on maternity or paediatrics as these are considered speciality areas of nursing practice. However on the NCLEX-RN exam, students need to be able to answer in-depth questions about these areas (an example is understanding various congenital cardiac conditions).

Additionally, many of the ethical approaches to nursing care in Canada and the USA are different.  For example, disclosure of mistakes.  In Canada this is considered and essential and important step.  In the USA, this is something that is recommended nurses NOT do.
These contradictions between the way in which American nurses and Canadian nurses practice can be problematic for the exam.

At PRIMED, we can help.
We offer NCLEX-RN courses for Canadians, designed by Canadian nursing educators.
Our instructors have active clinical practice and masters degrees in nursing (or education).  Our courses translate what you need you need to know as Canadian students, for the American NCLEX-RN.

Register today at: