I graduated from Indiana University in 1975[FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium]
obviously I took the old 2 day exam in 5 sections; the one with the least questions was Psych Nursing with 90. The passing score for most states was 250 on each test section, except for California and New York who required 500. My scores ranged from 723 (Surgical Nursing) to 606 (Psych Nursing) which was the only one that was below 700. So, yes I passed, but talk about STRESS. And I have never studied for large comprehensive exams since I had one instructor who claimed, (and I believed her), that it is impossible to "cram" or even to raise one's scores by "studying" for a test that covered such a massive amount of material. She likened it to studying for an IQ or SAT tests. I took the CCRN exam in 1982 and passed it the same way--never studied for it or took any CCRN review class, but I had been a Critical Care nurse for 6 years and had taken a lot of CEU classes during that time. I took it again in 1994 and passed the CCRN once more and the same way. I AM NO GENIUS. MY IQ IS ABOVE AVERAGE, THAT'S ALL. BUT ONE THING I CAN SAY IS THAT I REALLY DEDICATED MYSELF TO LEARNING EVERYTHING I COULD BECAUSE I LOVED THE SUBJECTS AND BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE THE BEST NURSE I COULD BE. I always went into a test with confidence that what I needed to know was in my brain, simply waiting there to be retrieved. I also ALWAYS had a very good breakfast with lots of protein, carbohydrates and some fats to keep my in working order.
Call me stupid and crazy, not to mention old fashioned, but I cannot see how any 75 questions could accurately measure the knowledge and apptitude of a person regarding such diverse areas as sterile technique, care of the woman pre and post partuem as well as during labor and delivery, infection control, pre and post op care of adults with a variety of medical and surgical diagnoses and possible complications to watch for as well as the most common drugs used, care of infants and children and their anatomical differences that must be regarded and the concerns that arise because of them during different disease states as well as post op. Knowledge of all of the organ systems and the potential disease processes and the care of all of them. Drugs, drug calculations, adverse reactions; Transfusion of various blood products and the precautions for all.
In the AZ. Board of Nursing Journal, nursing schools with NCLEX pass rates of 83-88% decided to review their curriculum and adjust them to more accurately reflect what NCLEX wants in order to pass it.
My question is this: Are we teaching people the knowledge and skills needed to safely care for a diverse patient population or are we teaching people to pass one exam??
I welcome your opinions.