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Canadian Nurses Association declares made and owned in Canada RN entry exam essential – News Release

Judith Shamian

Friday, January 13, 2012 – 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.

Read the full declaration here. [PDF, 234.9 KB]

Watch the news conference video here.

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.

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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