Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 32(4) December 2019 : 46-56.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2020.26102
What The Research Tells Us

A Closer Look at the Introduction of the NCLEX-RN in Canada

T. Diane Campbell, Kelly Penz, Helen Vandenberg and Michael Campbell


In 2015, the nursing faculty across most of Canada were informed by provincial nursing regulators that the America-based National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) was going to replace the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination for our nursing students to become registered as nurses. This change in the exam has presented a number of challenges to both faculty and students as they transitioned from a Canadian exam for the Canadian context to an exam that was originally formulated for nursing registration in the United States. This manuscript examines the differences in the Canadian and American healthcare systems; explores the variations in Canadian and American nursing practice and education; outlines concerns surrounding the use of standardized testing that panders to corporate interests, encourages "teaching to the test" and is costing nursing programs and nursing students considerable resources; and explores the controversy surrounding the validity of the NCLEX-RN in both Canada and the United States. This manuscript asks Canadian nursing leaders, educators, clinicians and researchers to question why Canadians have taken on this exam when Americans themselves state that this exam "gives a false and incomplete picture of practice readiness."



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