Students take a stand

Letter writer takes issue with nursing exam requirements

We are a group of Selkirk College nursing students that would like to summit a letter to the editor in regard to the recent changes in the process of been made to the Canadian Registered Nurses registration exam.

Recently, ten of Canada’s provincial and territorial registered nurse regulators, including the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia, decided that Canadian nurses required a new computer-based registered nurse entry exam. Without first consulting the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the ten regulators chose, on December 2, 2011, to enter into contract negotiations for the development of the new exam with the American company, known as the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. If the contract is finalized, the current Canadian Registered Nurses Exam will be replaced with an American made exam as early as 2015.

Many of the concerns surrounding the decision to give ownership of the Canadian exam to an American company stem from the lack of information that has been provided about the decision. CNA has vocalized a multitude of questions and has received little or no feedback.

One of the primary concerns is that an American made exam will not offer Canadian nursing students culturally sensitive material. This concern is related to the fact that Canada is a multicultural country; whereas the United States is a cultural melting pot. In addition, there have been no assurances made, that the new exam will be formatted for both English and French Canadians. The fear is that the new exam will simply be a Canadian version of the existing American exam.

Another concern is about maintaining the privacy of Canadian Nurses, personal information and exam data. The USA Patriot Act allows for the American government to access any information that is held by an American firm regardless of the information’s origin.

Currently, there is a great deal of recruitment taking place which focuses on persuading Canadian nurses to work in the United States. Research has shown that by the year 2025, the United States will have a shortage of 260,000 nurses. The CNA fears, that because this exam will be American made, it will allow for easier recruitment of Canadian nurses into the United States. This increased level of recruitment would cause a complete halt in the Canadian healthcare system, ultimately resulting in a significant decrease in patient care.

A final consideration is that there has been little information provided as to the exact purpose behind this quick and secretive proposal. Who specifically, will benefit from this change; the nurses writing the exam, the Canadian population or an American company? Something to think about?

Kenzie Waterstreet

Castlegar/Salmo