Students Perform Poorly In Nurse Licensure Examination

Less than 50 per cent of the of 3,223 nursing students who wrote this year’s licensure examination passed to practise as nurses. Out of the total figure, 1,254 candidates, representing 38.9 per cent, passed, while the remaining 1,969, representing 61.1 per cent, were referred to rewrite the August 2011 examination. The students, who came from about 100 health training institutions in the country, undertook four programmes in Registered General Nursing, Registered Midwifery, Registered Community Nursing and Registered Mental Nursing. The breakdown of the statistics made available to the Daily Graphic by the Nurses and Midwives Council (NMC) indicated that out of the 2,178 candidates who were presented for the Registered General Nursing examination, 823, representing 37.7 per cent, passed, while 1,355 were referred. For the Registered Midwifery examination, 679 candidates were presented, with 300, representing 44.1 per cent, passing and 379 being referred, while for the Registered Community Nursing, 45 candidates were presented, out of which 12, representing 26.7 per cent, passed. A total of 321 candidates sat for the Registered Mental Nursing examination and out of the figure 119, representing 37 per cent, passed, while 202 were referred. Responding to the performance of the students, the acting Registrar of the NMC, Mr Felix Nyante, told the Daily Graphic that the council was not happy with the general performance of the candidates. He said the NMC co-ordinated the licensing examination and that it was the tutors and clinicians of the training institutions who did the marking. The poor performance of the candidates in the licensure examination, he said, was the result of a number of perceived related factors which involved the students, tutors, the school curriculum, clinical training sites, as well as the NMC policy or curriculum. Mr Nyante explained that the perceived student-related factors for the poor performance involved large class sizes (student-tutor ratio), inattentiveness in class, abuse of mobile phones, absenteeism, inadequate supervision at the hostels and the unpreparedness of students towards the examination. The perceived tutor-related factors, he said, were absenteeism on the part of tutors, inexperienced tutors, inadequate motivation, apathy and inadequate assessment of students, while the school-related factors included inadequate library materials, training sites and equipment. He also said the staff strength of the NMC had remained almost the same over the last five years, although the workload at the council had increased. He added that there had been inadequate or poor supervisory visits on the part of the council, among other problems. Mr Nyante said to improve the performance of the candidates in the examination, there was the need for adequate or improved supervision in the training institutions, stronger and sustainable partnership with all the stakeholders and strengthening of students’ clinical experience, since the examination was practical-based. He maintained that the students who did not pass had only been referred to rewrite the examination, not failed, explaining that some of them had been referred in only one subject. “We don’t pass or fail, we only say successful,” he stated, adding that a scientific study was being conducted into what had led to the poor performance of the students. Students who did not pass the licensure examination in August this year have been given the opportunity to resit the examination in February 2012. A letter signed by the Registrar of the NMC, Rev Veronica Darko, and distributed to the various schools, said, “A re-sit licensing examination will be conducted in February 2012 for all the four basic programmes. “Upon release of the licensing examination results, the successful candidates will be enrolled for the National Service/Rotation exercise in April/May 2012 as agreed with the management of the National Service Scheme,” it said. The letter stated further that effective 2012, the licensing examination would be held in February and August every year as a result of the change in the academic calendar.