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January 2016   Comments

Serving new grads

Editor’s Note: We received several e-mails about the article on the NCLEX-RN. Two of those e-mails, representing some of the different viewpoints, are published here. This is an important and evolving issue, which CNA will continue to monitor.


The NCLEX-RN exam has certainly stirred up controversy and raised questions. Here are my own: how well was the exam really vetted and tested for use with Canadian writers? Did the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators trial the exam with groups of nursing graduates?

The sad part of this situation is the stress and disappointment for those who worked hard to earn their nursing degrees, only to be let down by regulators. I am confident the issues with the exam will be addressed, but that will be small consolation for the recent graduates. They deserved much better from their professional bodies.

– Judith Metcalfe, BN, RN, COHN(C)
Saskatoon, Sask.

I would like to have the question of differences in educational methodologies between jurisdictions probed. Why did B.C. grads do so well compared to their counterparts in other provinces? Why did American grads collectively outperform the Canadians?

I hesitate to say it without proof, but I suspect a direct correlation between exam results and the current use of inquiry-based small group learning. From what I understand from the young grads I know, the groups research disease processes on their own and receive little actual instruction in class. They do not get a common exposure to the basics (pharmacology, anatomy and physiology). Your group is only as far ahead as the most remedial member.

Although there is room for this type of learning in a program, I don’t understand how it can form the basis of one’s education. The young grads I know, to a one, hate this type of schooling. They feel they are being ripped off: paying for a university education but, in essence, teaching themselves. After they graduate, these promising young people are often miles behind on basic knowledge and clinical skills, which affects their self-confidence, their potential for leadership and their drive to pursue excellence in the workplace.

I’m curious to know if the more fact-based NCLEX-RN exposes the many weaknesses of inquiry-based education — and even more curious to see if educators have the courage to admit it if that is so and make the necessary changes.

– Jackie McDonald, BScN, RN
St. Albert, Alta.

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