Author: Shelly Luhning RN BScN MN ENC(C)--NCLEX Education Canada
Students are often at risk of failing the NCLEX exam. Put yourself in the students' shoes—you work hard to earn a degree—taking two, three, four or even more years to finish. You are done! Excited, proud and ready to be a real nurse! One last step—pass the licensing exam, the NCLEX! No big deal. Right??---- Wrong! Many students are unsuccessful and struggle to pass the NCLEX exam. There are often many warning signs along the student’s educational path that the student may struggle with the NCLEX exam. Many of these warning signs are ignored or overlooked. If these warning signs were recognized and early intervention was possible, it could in fact change the outcome for the student.
There has been recent research and media attention discussing the mental health of healthcare workers and the impact their careers can have on their mental health. Nursing is an empathetic, caring profession that attracts a certain type of individual. This makes nurses at risk of burn-out and difficulty balancing life. We sometimes forget that the same goes for our students! They too, can have difficulty balancing school and their life outside of school. Many students work, have children, responsibilities, and commitments outside of school. We know that nursing is one of the most difficult degrees to obtain. When combined with the caring, giving, empathetic, nature of our students and the added pressures that many students have---this can lead to a student who not only struggles to obtain their degree but in fact struggles to pass the NCLEX.
Students frequently complete assessments upon entrance to a nursing program but many do not do any post assessments following their degree. In nursing education, the student is regularly assessed early on for things such as reading and comprehension level and their math abilities. Many schools do not assess the students on their overall ability to study and maintain a school-life balance. There is also little to no post assessments done on completion of their degree. I have always said as nurses we are in the assessment business----which is why I find it troubling that we are not routinely assessing our students on their ability to successfully pass the NCLEX.
If we completed a comprehensive NCLEX success assessment on each and every student about the issues and factors that could impact their educational path, this could drastically change the student’s journey and outcomes. By completing a comprehensive assessment, not only would it identify the issues or perceived issues the student may encounter but it will also allow discussion and opportunity to understand these issues or factors and address them early with the appropriate interventions. Instead, the issues or factors are often dismissed and the student struggles through the nursing program, and then is unsuccessful on the NCLEX. The feeling of failure and the negative emotions that coincide with their unsuccessful result commonly causes students a realm of emotions. I have had students report feelings of frustration, anger, disappointment, hopelessness, decreased self-confidence, depression and even suicide.
Self-Assessment is a term that we as educators are familiar with. We frequently promote self-assessment to our students and incorporate it in our teaching. We may also use it in our own nursing practice.
Education research discusses the importance of self-assessment, but do you know why it is necessary and how it can impact your students? Here are the ways:
Did you know that nursing graduates who cultivate the skills of self-assessment are more likely to?
There are several crucial assessment questions to ask on a NCLEX Student Success Assessment. Here is just a taste of questions included in the assessment:
In conclusion, I believe that one way we can assist our students to successfully pass the NCLEX is to do a NCLEX Student Success Assessment early on in the students’ nursing education. This assessment will assist in identifying actual or potential factors that can impact the student’s success. By identifying these factors early, both the student and faculty can address these factors and change the outcomes, thus positively impacting the student’s success on the NCLEX examination.