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Velasco: Nursing the wounds

Velasco: Nursing the wounds
By Diana B. Velasco
Grain of Salt

THERE'S a piece of news that has hit close to home--the controversial alleged leakage and proposed retaking of the 2006 Nursing Licensure Examination.

The issue has a particularly personal impact on me because I have taken two licensure examinations for two different professions and with some partners, operate a review center here in the city.

As anybody who has ever tried to become a recognized professional in the country knows, taking the PRC exam is no mean feat; it requires intellectual, psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual conditioning. The suspense on the questions that will actually be asked is so intense that the exam itself sometimes becomes anti-climactic after months and months of nerve-wracking and sometimes debilitating tension.

Preparing oneself for a board exam is a major event for a professional wannabe, and finding your name in the list of passers never fails to elicit a tidal wave of relief and the affirmation that you are good enough to practice your chosen field. The roller coaster ride of emotions it brings is not a joke and I can only begin to imagine the distress that this batch of nursing board passers is going through because their competence has yet to be formally recognized.

Assuming that the allegations are true and that test questions were leaked days before the exam, I cannot find one molecule in my body that empathizes with the administrators of the accused review center. Yes, I know for a fact that the review center competition is tough, and more so with nursing review schools. But that does not excuse anyone who wants to stay on top of the game to resort to old-school underhanded tactics just so it could generate some psychic pressure on future enrollees who would like to have every possible advantage on their side.

People should enroll in a review center based on the innovation and effectiveness of their methodology and the quality of their materials and instructors, not on their access to leakage!

The re-computation of the scores by PRC, nullifying the contestable questions, resulted in an increase in the number of passers by almost 500. This was based on a similar approach to a controversial bar examination and is a good basis for us to conclude that even while some portions of the test was leaked, it actually gave, at best, a negligible advantage to the people who had access to it in the first place.

What truly riles me about the issue is that there seems to be very little being done in addressing the root cause of the problem: the leakage. How did it happen? Did the review center in question have access to one of the examiners, or the people who printed the exam, or an insider from the PRC? Whatever made them think they could actually get away with something like that? These are the questions that need to be answered, and fast, if we want to build on whatever is left of the credibility of that board exam. All parties privy to the controversy should be put behind bars and never have the chance to work in a credible organization ever again.

We are a democracy. But that does not give anybody the chance to lie, cheat steal and defraud intellectually honest and competent nurses to practice their profession. Professionalism is something that cannot be defined by one examination. It is also something that can never be bought.

Ms. Velasco is a licensed geologist and environmental planner, and owns the Foresight Cram School in Matina, which offers review classes and tutorial services. You may call 296-1654 or email for more information and for your comments and reactions

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