We’re modernizing how we assess applicants

Informed, fair, inclusive and effective. These are the goals of our applicant assessment processes, so they contribute to improved access to safe nursing care. To get there, we’ve started modernizing the process we use to assess applicants.

“We are relentlessly focused on modernizing our applicant assessment process to ensure the health care system has access to skilled nurses needed to deliver safe, quality care,” says Anne Coghlan, CNO’s Executive Director & CEO.

Our goals are to make the way we assess applicant information more efficient and update relevant policies. As well, we aim to reduce the time it takes for an applicant to become registered. This is one of the outcomes of our new Strategic Plan 2021-2024.

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New PN exam reflects practice realities

There is a new entry-to-practice exam for those applying to become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in Ontario or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in B.C. The exam, called REx-PN, launched on Jan. 4, 2022. It replaces the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) for Ontario and B.C. students.


CNO and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives partnered with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to develop the exam. It tests the knowledge, skill and judgment that PNs need to practice safely at the beginning of their careers.


“The new exam reflects the realities of nursing practice,” says Shelley Masse, Program Coordinator, PN Program at Fanshawe College in London. She says the format of the exam resembles the profession as it requires writers to repeatedly make decisions about information in real-time.


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