U.S. firm takes over nurse entry exams

The Canadian Nurses Association wants the entry exam for nurses to be Canadian-made and Canadian-owned, not American.

TORONTO — The Canadian Nurses Association wants the entry exam for nurses to be Canadian-made and Canadian-owned, not American.

The Canadian association and its subsidiary Assessment Strategies Inc. developed and maintain the current pencil-and-paper exam, and submitted a proposal in a recent competition to deliver an online version starting in 2015.

But in early December, regulatory bodies in the provinces and territories — except for Quebec and Yukon — selected the American-based National Council of State Boards of Nursing as a partner to develop a new computer-based test that would be taken by both Canadian and U.S. nurses.

The U.S. market and health-care system are different from Canada’s, and that reality needs to be recognized in the exam, said Canadian Nurses Association president Judith Shamian.

“Since I’ve been involved in nursing leadership in this country … I have not seen an outpouring of concern on an issue as I have seen on this topic,” she said in an interview, noting that more than 12,000 nurses have looked online at materials about the proposed change and that she gets lots of emails daily.

“By and large, nurses are outraged.”

Last year about 12,000 candidates across Canada wrote the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination.

The association has drawn up a list of principles that it wants to be followed to ensure the new exam aligns with the curriculum of Canadian nursing schools and reflects the unique qualities and values of the Canadian publicly funded, not-for-profit health system. It also expressed concern that Canadian exam data and personal information be kept private and not be subject to the USA Patriot Act, which among other things, reduced restrictions on searches of business records in a bid to fight terrorism.

One of the provincial regulators says a criteria of the competition was compliance with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

The U.S. proposal is “currently compliant,” said Anne Coghlan, executive director and CEO of the College of Nurses of Ontario, one of the regulators that chose to go with the U.S.-based exam.

The new exam will include active participation by Canadian registered nurses in writing and reviewing items, and translating the content into French, Coghlan said in an interview Friday shortly after the nurses association held a news conference in Toronto.

“We’re entering into a partnership to develop an exam that will be offered in 2015,” she said.

“So while the National Council of State Boards of Nursing currently offers an exam, that exam will look different in 2015 because it will be one that is jointly developed by nurses in Canada and nurses in the United States.” The entry-to-practice exam will assess the knowledge required of nurses to provide care in Canada, Coghlan added.

But Shamian is concerned that Canadian nursing students will have to learn about American requirements, and that this new exam could lead to more recruitment of Canadian nurses by American hospitals.

“The current prediction is that the U.S. will be short 260,000 nurses by 2025. Our total number of nurses is 250,000,” Shamian said.

“So imagine that they come to us to recruit — and they love to recruit Canadian nurses; they did that in the ’90s — and … it will be so much easier now because our nurses have written the American exam.”

Coghlan responded that nursing is a mobile workforce, and an exam is only one requirement for registration.

As for new recruits, the cost to write the exam in Ontario is currently $508.50, including taxes. Coghlan indicated the price could drop as administrative costs change.

Coghlan said the competition or Request for Proposal process is legally binding but Shamian is hoping that provincial and territorial governments will step in.

“I am truly terrified that this is going to happen, and in 10 years people will wake up and say, ‘Excuse me, who allowed this to happen?’ It’s unfortunate.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read