Fredericton, December 11, 2015 – The Nurses Association of New Brunswick (NANB)
is legally mandated under the Nurses Act, to protect the public by regulating
members of the nursing profession in the province. One element of the regulatory
requirement to practice nursing is to pass a national entry-to-practice exam, which is
administered across Canada. Since introducing the new entry-to-practice exam in
January 2015, results for New Brunswick graduates (now overall at 71%) continue to
rank lowest in Canada. The ongoing low success rate prompted the twelve member
volunteer Board of Directors for NANB to convene and discuss an immediate action
plan to support nursing graduates during this challenging transition period.
“Although there are a number of variables associated with the results; two factors
appear to be creating significant stress for nursing graduates,” says Laurie Janes,
Executive Director of the NANB. “The number of times a graduate can write the
exam, and the period of temporary registration are definite areas of concern.”
During the December 8th Board meeting, Directors discussed and approved regulation
that changes the number of times that writing attempts are permitted, over a two
year period of temporary registration. Previously, temporary registration was
cancelled following a second unsuccessful attempt to attain a passing score on the
exam. This contributed to the economic burden for nursing graduates and their
families and generated stress on human resources within the healthcare system.
NANB staff are communicating with nursing graduates, employers and other
stakeholder groups about the new regulation changes.
To address concerns from Francophone graduates, educators and community, NANB
is engaged in a review with the provincial government to validate the process used
for translation. Both NANB and the exam provider are agreeable to an external review
of the exam questions, if deemed necessary.
Access to preparatory resource materials is a continuing concern from francophone
students. NANB continues to post bilingual resources on the NANB website. The
resources and links on the NANB website were identified as key materials for
graduates and educators as early as 2013. NANB translated or validated translation of
all posted materials. NB nursing graduates also have access to bilingual exam
preparatory workshops, as well as additional studies through the RN-PDC (RNProfessional Development Centre) based in Atlantic Canada. NB graduates have engaged in activities offered through that organization.
What is not available to Francophone nursing graduates are commercial/retail
materials, similar to “prep guides” offered by third parties in English for the new
exam. Commercial “prep guides” are not endorsed by NANB since the quality of
content can vary widely. However in recognition of the concern, NANB is involving
other Canadian nursing stakeholder groups and government officials in order to
access funding for development of a “prep guide” offered in both official languages.
The responsibility for development and delivery of such a resource needs to be
determined, as development and delivery of exam preparation guides and materials
is not a mandate of NANB.
Finally, NANB is addressing the considerable and concerning amount of
misinformation circulating among nursing graduates, nursing organizations and other
groups within NB and across Canada. The predominant areas of incorrect information
continue to focus on the perception that the new exam is a US exam with US
pharmaceutical and health system content, and that it does not test for Canadian
nursing competencies. This information is incorrect.
Development of an exam that could be used for nurses both in Canada and the US
began in 2010. Since that time studies were completed that indicate both US and
Canadian nurses require the same competencies as they transition from a student
role to practising nurse. The exam is only “American” in the sense that the exam
designed to test Canadian as well as US nursing competencies was purchased from a
US-based exam provider, just as are some exams offered within Canada for nurse
In preparation for the exam all questions containing trade names for pharmaceutical
products were removed. Following comments from nursing graduates and students
post-implementation, the data bank for questions was screened again. Results
verified there are no questions including trade names for pharmaceuticals, or
questions pertaining to the US health system, which graduates had also reported.
NANB continues to support nursing graduates and work with other nursing
organizations to ensure enhanced success for the nursing profession now and into the
Click here for the original press release.