Infusing Technology in a School of Nursing – An Education Dive Article

March 11, 2015 Stephanie Totty

This article was authored by Dr. Barbara Blackwell, Director, Holy Name Medical Center School of Nursing, and originally appeared in February 2015, for Education Dive.

Background
Nurses have several things in common, but one of the first commonalities that all nurses share is their requirement to practice and obtain a license by successfully passing the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX-RN). This exam has been administered in a computerized format since 1994. Despite this fact, many programs have been slow to adopt electronic testing. Our program began an initiative of computerized testing in the spring of 2014. This initiative required detailed planning and much preparation before the official introduction in the fall of 2014.

Beginning the Process
Once the decision was made to move to an electronic testing platform, a choice had to be made as to which platform to choose. Three different testing solutions, were investigated; one within our current learning management system (LMS), another based in the testing platform we presently use, a scantron type of program, and last was a server-based software program. Faculty were very involved in the software purchasing decision. Webinars were scheduled to train faculty on each platform so that a determination could be made as to which one met our school’s needs. Of the three choices, testing within our LMS seemed to be the most logical choice. This would provide the data in the format we were most familiar with, and would not come with a high cost, as it was a part of the system that we were using. The LMS solution had many of the desirable attributes we were looking for, however it did not have the level of item analysis we wanted. The scantron solution did have a high level of discernment, however, the ability to simulate the questions our students would encounter in the NCLEX-RN Exam was non-existent. The third choice, the server-based testing platform, was quickly ruled out, as it did not provide the ability to simulate NCLEX style questions which we felt was very important to student success …

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