If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re somewhere along your journey in the healthcare discipline of licensed nursing. Notice how the qualifier of nursing is the word ‘licensed.’
Ah, the almighty license. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®), created by the U.S organization; the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), serves as the gateway to becoming a licensed nurse; either a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Practical Nurse (PN).
The NCLEX® is provided in two formats (NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN) and is administered to nursing graduates for licensure of registered nursing and practical nursing respectively.
The questions range from a minimum of 75 to a maximum of 265. This range is required by everyone.
The structures of the exams are broken down into categorical percentages outlining the framework that consist of eight client needs.
The easiest way to explain this is to look at an example of both a 75 and 265 question test, and see exactly how many questions for each category you would possibly have to answer for each:
Management of Care (12-17 questions)
Safety and Infection Control (6-11 questions)
Health Promotion and Maintenance (4-9 questions)
Psychosocial Integrity (4-9 questions)
Basic Care and Comfort (4-9 questions)
Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies (9-13 questions)
Reduction of Risk Potential (6-11 questions)
Physiological Adaptation (8-12 questions)
Management of Care (45-60 questions)
Safety and Infection Control (23-39 questions)
Health Promotion and Maintenance (15-31 questions)
Psychosocial Integrity (15-31 questions)
Basic Care and Comfort (15-31 questions)
Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies (31-47 questions)
Reduction of Risk Potential (23-39 questions)
Physiological Adaptation (29-45 questions)
The above breakdown details EXACTLY how many questions from each category will be asked in your examination.
If you didn’t know these figures before, you know them now.
All of the possible 265 questions on the NCLEX® are written under the assumption that you can sufficiently demonstrate your understanding of the core set of discipline competencies we refer to as knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA). These competencies are essential for an entry-level nurse to bestow in order to safely and effectively meet client needs requiring the promotion, maintenance or restoration of health.
A high percentage of questions on the NCLEX® are written at an ‘application’ or ‘analysis’ level of cognitive ability, which requires more complex thought processing. Therefore, it’s recommended to follow the NCLEX® Test Plan for your respective domain of licensure; RN or PN. These can be found on the NCSBN’s website here. The Test Plans summarize the scope of nursing practice and required nursing content tested throughout the NCLEX®.
Aside from preparing candidates for testing, it also serves as a tool for developing examinations.
For those of you who are nervous or anxious about taking (or retaking) the NCLEX®… You CAN do this! You WILL do this, and you WILL SUCCEED!