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Nursing profession concerned with first NCLEX-RN results

Friday, September 11, 2015, Ottawa — The registered nurse (RN) entry-to-practice exam is a cornerstone of the self-regulating, nursing profession in Canada. As the national professional voice of nursing, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is therefore concerned about the pass rates of the NCLEX-RN exam by Canadian students. The exam, developed and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., was selected by the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators for its computer-adaptive format and taken by Canadian students for the first time in 2015. Initial results show that Canadian nurses had lower pass rates at 70.6%, more than 10 per cent below previous Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

These results have the potential to delay the number of nurses entering the workforce, which is key to sustaining our health-care system.

According to CNA president Karima Velji, a national RN exam is one of several elements in place across the country to ensure that only qualified nurses enter nursing practice. “Canada has very strong nursing education programs, and graduates of these programs are providing safe and competent care.”

“CNA believes it is crucial to ensure Canadians have access to a sustainable and knowledgeable nursing workforce,” said Velji.

Going forward, CNA will be collaborating with several of its partners — the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association, and the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses — to fully understand the reasons for the lower success rates and to develop an action plan to address them.

“Canadians, nursing students, governments and employers can be confident that the nursing profession is closely monitoring the situation and will work with all groups to resolve it. For many years, nursing has been one of the most trusted professions, and we are committed to preserving this trust,” added Velji.

CNA is the national professional voice representing 135,000 registered nurses in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


For more information, please contact:

Marc Bourgeois, Director, Public Affairs and Member Outreach
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 252
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: mbourgeois@cna-aiic.ca