COVID-19 has rendered several nationwide examinations, which include the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the nationwide nurse licensing exam. This may present a problem to graduating nursing students at East Carolina University who planned to take the exam over the summer.
There are few testing sites in the country so the North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) will allow nursing students to practice after they graduate on a temporary license before they can take the NCLEX due to the nationwide nursing shortage.
The NCSBN website said that the NCBON appreciates and applauds the efforts of all prelicensure nursing education program directors and faculty in being proactive during this time of uncertainty related to COVID-19 and they recognize the 2020 spring semester didn’t go as planned.
The Communications Director for ECU CON, Natalie Sayewich, said to check the NCBON site for further information on the statement released about the NCLEX and nurse licensing.
“According to Dr. Annette Peery, the College of Nursing’s (CON) associate dean for academic affairs, they are not waiving NCLEX and licensing, but allowing new graduates, upon completion of their school’s graduation requirements to practice as a Graduate Nurse (GN) until they take and pass their NCLEX-RN exam and obtain their license.” Sayewich said.
The NCSBN website said it will not prescribe any remedies for this situation but recognized that there is flexibility in the way required program outcomes are met. The board said program directors will not be required to submit class, lab, or clinical modifications for the spring 2020 semester for approval.
The board said that program directors will also be responsible to identify whether or not the program outcomes have been met and to validate students who meet the program outcomes. If those students meet the requirements of the program then the directors will determine who is eligible to apply to take the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN.
ECU CON associate dean, Annette Peery, said once students graduate what happens is up to the agency they go to. She said some hospitals or offices often provide an orientation or classes for new nurses and that new graduate nurses may also be supervised by another registered nurse (RN) as well.
“So the one that was here was the Prometric testing centers and I think they are all currently closed. There may be some sites that are open again across the state with limited capacity but I’m not sure which ones are currently open and which ones are not,” Peery said.
Once all of the CON students graduate, Peery said the CON sends the names to NCBON that will verify they passed the requirements and are clear to take the NCLEX exam. She said they are still working with students now with online case studies and simulations.
By the end of the semester the students will be ready for the NCLEX since CON will also continue to offer the free NCLEX review session, according to Peery.
“I think that there was already a national nursing shortage anyway and when you look at the physical, psychological, the emotional wear and tear on all of our health care providers it’s a matter of trying to keep fresh nurses and fresh providers in the settings so we can best care for patients and still care for themselves as well so I think it’s an issue of supply and demand. The more nurses you have that ready to go into the workforce the more people we can adequately care for,” Peery said.
For further information on the NCLEX or temporary nursing licenses visit the NCBON site or NCSBN site.