Questions that must be answered, when asking this question, include:
Does the NCLEX accurately predict RN competency? Is it valid?
Even if the answer is yes, we can't absolutely conclude that it is therefore the ONLY predictor of RN competency. That would be illogical. Even if the NCLEX successfully filters out/predicts individuals who will better perform nursing duties safely and effectively this does not mean there are not other filters that would not achieve the same function (or that the two filters would not overlap for some individuals and not for others).
Is the NCLEX even necessary? (I believe that good on the job training plus good performance evaluations would eliminate the need for the NCLEX, if necessary. Obviously we do not face that necessity. I'm just saying: if for some reason we could no longer adminster the NCLEX, I find it hard to believe the RN workforce would suddenly be filled with incompetents. Nursing school and competent supervisors plus competent training should be filter enough.)
We know the NCLEX itself can be taught. There are ample review courses out there that can teach enough NCLEX strategy to enable many to passt his exam who otherwise could never do so on their own, with their own independent thinking. Yet we have many who never seek out (or who are unable to pay for) these instructors.
To arbitrarily pick a number (three times) when there are so many variables out there (far more than I mentioned here) seems senseless to me. What is the reason for picking the number three?
And, in defense of those who need to take the exam five times or more, let me ask this question: do you assume that if someone fails three times, they are incapable of "improving?"
What exactly does the NCLEX test, in your opinion, that cannot be learned? If you are not simply applying arbitrary punishment according to your timeline, you must be operating off an assumption that the NCLEX tests something that cannot be learned. Otherwise,why not give someone the chance to learn whatever "it" is and demonstrate they've learned it on the NCLEX?
If the NCLEX is truly valid, as you seem to believe, then it should be valid whether someone passes it the first time of the 30th time, should it not? The million or more reasons it may take someone that many times to pass it should have no meaning if the test is TRULY valid.
I'm not saying it is. I'm just pointing out that your own faith in the NCLEX defeats an arbitrary "three strikes and you're dumb" belief.
Either you believe someone can improve their nursing critical skills set or you do not.
Also, just because someone is anxious when it comes to exams, they will not necessarily be anxious during a medical emergency. This is more bad logic and it would be sensless at best, and cruel at worst, to judge someone as incompetent to be in medical situations simply because of their assumed test anxiety and your belief this anxiety is universally transferrable.
I would be disappointed if someone took these statements to be "flames."
I appreciate the questions asked, the ability to participate in this discussion, and I stand behind my points pending better points.