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RN Exam

Information about changes to the RN exam.

posted Dec. 14, 2011

CRNBC is pleased to announce that the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has been selected to partner in the development of a state of the art, computer-adaptive RN entry exam. Our goal is to introduce the new exam in 2015.


In December, CRNBC together with nine other Canadian registered nurse regulators completed a comprehensive search for an exam provider. The search included a detailed RFP process and an independent assessment of the final proposals by a Canadian psychometric expert.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing offered the best option and a proven ability to meet the needs and expectations of the ten Canadian regulators.

An important role for Canadian regulators is ensuring RN candidates meet the entry to practice competencies and are qualified to provide competent and ethical care. The entry to practice examination is a critical tool in this assessment.

To ensure the exam meets Canadian requirements, the 10 regulators will participate in oversight of the exam development and administration. This will include a thorough study of RN practice and entry-level competencies in Canada and input from Canadian nursing experts and practising nurses.

There will be opportunities for nurse educators and students to learn about the new exam and for RNs to participate in its development.

The end result will be a new computer-adaptive RN entry exam that offers a fair and accurate assessment of a candidate’s readiness to practise nursing in Canada.

Currently, RN candidates write a paper and pen exam. This exam continues to be a valid assessment of their abilities. However, the new exam, including the new method of administering and taking the exam, will allow for greater flexibility, accessibility, affordability and faster registration.

The computer features of the exam means it will be accessible year-round and enable exam results to be provided to the regulator within 48 hours.

“I am confident in the ability of this partnership to further the goal of public protection and contribute to regulatory excellence in Canada,” says Laurel Brunke, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of CRNBC.

CRNBC will continue to provide information on the new RN entry exam as it is developed.

The 10 Canadian RN regulators who currently offer a common RN exam are:

  • Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island
  • College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
  • College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia
  • Nurses Association of New Brunswick
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide an organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting the public health, safety and welfare, including the development of licensing examinations in nursing. Members include U.S. boards of nursing and associate members including five Canadian RN regulators. 

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