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Updating RPN competencies and exam
We’ve started working with nine other provincial/territorial regulators of practical nurses in Canada to develop a consistent national approach to the entry-level competencies of RPNs (called Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in some other jurisdictions). This national initiative will improve the mobility of RPN labour across the country by ensuring that all RPNs, regardless of where they initially registered to practise in Canada, will possess the same entry-level competencies needed to provide safe care. It keeps the public’s interest and safety at the forefront.
We are going through this review in three steps:
Step 1: A comprehensive analysis of RPN entry-level practice: This analysis will provide an overview of practical nursing practice across Canada and identify any changes and differences among jurisdictions.
Step 2: National entry competencies: Entry competencies for RPNs vary across the country, but for mobility and safety should be consistent. With the support of subject matter experts across the country, we’ll use what we learned from the entry-level practice analysis in Step 1 to update the required entry- level competencies of RPNs.
Step 3: Regulatory exam: We’ll then develop a new RPN exam using some of the competencies (not all competencies can be tested using a computer-based examination as they are best evaluated in a clinical setting). We want to create a state-of-the-art exam that considers current best practices. We’ll be considering ability-based exams that will allow for no limits on exam writes.
Throughout this entire process of review and development, we’ll be exchanging information with educators and other stakeholders, including student groups. We understand the importance of bringing in all who may be impacted by these changes. We will be consulting with educators of practical nurse programs about the cycle and timeline they’ll need in order to incorporate any revised competencies into a new curriculum.
We’re still very much at the beginning of this initiative. As we still have to complete all the analysis and seek stakeholder input, we aren’t proposing any implementation dates yet.
For the latest updates on this and other initiatives that may impact educators and students, please see the “Meeting Minutes” section of the Academic Reference Group page of this website. Your feedback is always welcome.