Tue Jun 28

ONA lobbying regarding NCLEX-RN exams a success!

March 23, 2016

Update (March 22, 2016): ONA Lobbying regarding NCLEX Exam A Success!

Earlier this month, ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, wrote to Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins requesting action to make the NCLEX-RN)fair for Ontario's nursing school graduates.

The lobbying was a success! A memo from Linda states, in part, "I am pleased to report that through our lobbying efforts we have been successful in convincing the government to make amendments to the Nursing Act Regulation to address our concerns and these are currently being worked on. The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is expected to make the necessary amendments to its registration criteria at the June CNO Council meeting."

Read the full memo here.


ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud has written a letter to Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins requesting immediate action to make administration of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) fair for Ontario's nursing school graduates. The letter states, in part:

"Failure rates point to inequity between the way this single entry to practice exam is administered in Canada versus in the United States of America (US) where it originated. After Canada switched from the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) to the NCLEX-RN, Canadian nursing graduates experienced high failure rates relative to their American counterparts."

ONA is calling for the immediate elimination of the three-write limit, a change that would be in line with the policies of American jurisdictions which also use the exam. Of 50 American state boards of nursing using the NCLEX-RN, 39 allow candidates an unlimited number of retakes. The rest follow the retake policy of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which allows up to eight re-writes per year.

"Not a single jurisdiction in the US allows only three attempts to pass the NCLEX-RN and no jurisdiction requires that a candidate complete a second Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree before being allowed another attempt at writing the exam. Instead, many state nursing boards more reasonably require proof of remediation or the completion of an exam preparation course before additional re-writes are allowed."

Haslam-Stroud also questions the fairness of the appeals process for candidates who have failed the exam. While Americans can question the content of specific questions or the whole of the NCLEX-RN within six months of writing through the "Review and Challenge" process, candidates in Ontario cannot. The only avenue open to candidates in Ontario is to convince the Registration Committee of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) that “extenuating circumstances” prevented them from passing the exam.

"Not providing a candidate with the ability to challenge the content of examination questions when the results of the exam determine access to a profession, is arguably a denial of the duty of procedural fairness."

Haslam-Stroud says that "leveling the playing field" is necessary to ensure a fair process for Ontario's highly-qualified, locally-educated nursing program graduates.

Click here to read the letter in full.

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