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Government approves registration regulation changes

The Ontario government has approved changes to the registration regulation under the Nursing Act, 1991. One outcome of these changes is that Registered Nurse (RN) applicants now have no limit to the number of times they can write the entry-to-practice exam, NCLEX-RN. 

Before the College can implement these changes, we must first complete the necessary adjustments to our information systems. We will finalize this work by January 9, 2017, at which time we will be able to process new applications under the revised regulations.  Also by this date, we will be contacting all those who are directly impacted by the exam policy changes, including current applicants and RN applicants who recently failed the exam three times to advise them of next steps. Please allow until after January 9, 2017 before contacting the College.  Further information will be posted on CNO.org when it is available.

A summary of the changes can be found in the June 2016 issue of The Standard

No limits to NCLEX-RN exam writes

With this regulation change in place, RN applicants now have no limit on the number of times they can write the NCLEX-RN exam until they pass. Previously, applicants were limited to three attempts.

Passing the exam is one of a set of requirements an RN applicant must meet in order to practise nursing in Ontario. In addition to entry requirements, members are required to maintain nursing competence and adhere to nursing standards. Together these mechanisms help to ensure nurses practice safely initially and throughout their careers. 

The number of writes remains unchanged for all other exams that are part of the application process for registering to practise as a nurse in Ontario. The College limits applicants to three attempts on other entry exams because, unlike the NCLEX-RN, those exams are composed of a set of questions administered to all applicants. As a result, a writer’s familiarity with the exam content increases with each attempt. The NCLEX-RN exam is developed and administered differently than the other exams that have been approved by Council. For example, each person who writes the NCLEX-RN exam has a different set of questions. Unlike some other exams, there is no risk of memorizing content – the NCLEX-RN exam system knows when someone is rewriting the exam and generates a new set of questions.  Regardless of the number of writes, the only way a person will be successful on the exam is if they are able to show they have the competence to practise safely as an entry-level RN.

For more information about the NCLEX-RN, including registering and preparing for the exam, read the Q&As about the NCLEX-RN for exam writers.

All relevant information will be updated on the website by January 9.

Removal of “in Ontario” from the declaration of practice

The registration regulation changes also included the removal of “in Ontario” from the declaration of practice requirements.  This change has been captured in the current renewal cycle.

Page last reviewed January 11, 2017