Time to Hit the Reset Button

Stethoscope on table with 2023 blocks
Learn what educators need to know to prepare their new students for the AACN Essentials and the NCLEX in the future.
Stethoscope on table with 2023 blocks
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By: Maria Flores-Harris, DNP, RN, CNE

Happy New Year! As nurses and educators, we have a lot to be thankful for and look forward to this new year. Looking back, our biggest accomplishment of the last couple of years is being of service during the pandemic. Looking forward, we must prepare new students for a new AACN Essentials and a new NCLEX. It’s time for a fresh start! We don’t have to look far to find the resources we need for our students. UWorld is already at your fingertips

New Nursing Students

A new batch of students who are eager to learn will greet us with smiles, at least for the first few classes! Appreciate this time. Break the ice and build a rapport, find common ground, and create a trusting atmosphere. You can break the ice by asking random questions to the class, like “What is your favorite movie?”, “What is your biggest fear?”, “If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?” Ask your students to think of the answers silently before they share out loud. This is a great way for students to relate to each other and bond more intimately. Activities like these go a long way in fostering community, which encourages students to engage and learn.

You can also “call role” on the first day of class to help put names on new faces and make sure that your pronunciation is correct. The more students feel a sense of belonging, the more they will engage with us and the material. A new group of students means a new opportunity to make a great first impression!

New AACN Essentials

The AACN Essentials were revised to reflect recent developments in healthcare technology and informatics, shifts in the population demographics, updates to health policy, and other generational topics such as health inequality and global pandemics. Nursing education must prepare the nursing workforce to meet the needs of an ever-evolving healthcare environment. The inclusion of the AACN Essentials into nursing curricula establishes a reliable foundation for the future of nursing education while providing an organizational framework that highlights substantive information.

The Essentials, if implemented appropriately, will provide your nursing curricula with a valid framework for the assessment and evaluation of your students and program. It’s essential to use a resource that provides robust reporting software that can accurately and seamlessly evaluate the knowledge and skills of the Essentials. With UWorld reporting, we do the heavy lifting for you. Your UWorld report will clearly demonstrate whether your questions and tests properly assess an understanding of the AACN concepts and domains as each question is categorized by the AACN Essentials, QSEN, and numerous other domains. 

Because the AACN Essentials are competency-based, they are more aligned with clinical judgment and the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN). NGN has been the most anxiously awaited change in nursing education in decades, and it will finally arrive in 2023!

Assignable Questions. Classroom Presentation. Detailed Reporting.
Educator and student working on Next Generation NCLEX question from UWorld’s Learning Platform for Nursing.

New Next Generation NCLEX (NGN)

The major difference between the present NCLEX and the Next Generation NCLEX is the introduction of Clinical Judgment (CJ) measurement. New item types and responses have been created to support this development. Item types include new case studies comprised of six items that move sequentially through the NCSBN Clinical Judgment Measurement Model (NCJJM) from “Recognize Cues” to “Analyze Cues” to “Prioritize Hypothesis” to “Generate Solutions” to “Take Actions” to “Evaluate Outcomes.” 

Another change from the current exam will be the scoring methodology. Polytomous scoring models will be introduced which means partial credit will be available for individual items. The currently used Rasch measurement model for scaling will continue to be used. The NGN will expand on the model so that pre-NGN and post-NGN scores are comparable and pass/fail decisions are made based on the same model. This also means the computer adaptability of the NCLEX remains intact. Items or item sets (the new terminology for case studies, bowtie, and trend items) will be chosen based on the skill level of the candidate.

Currently, the NCLEX has a minimum of 75 items and a maximum of 145 items. With the introduction of NGN in April 2023, the minimum number of items for both RN and PN NCLEX will increase to 85 and the maximum number of items will increase to 150. Within the minimum length exam, there will be *three case studies (with each case study containing six items for a total of 18 items). After the minimum length test, if the candidate continues to question 86, the exam will select only stand-alone items. Stand-alone items include the present item types, Bowtie, and Trend items but no case studies.

UWorld to the rescue again! UWorld has your back when it comes to the new NGN item types. Use the UWorld Learning Platform to acclimate your students to all the new NGN item types. Let them practice on their own. Use them as an active classroom activity and have pairs or groups of students answer different questions and then review the questions and rationales with the class. Multiple choice item writing is time consuming. NGN item writing requires even more time. Utilize the resources you have and don’t stress about using your limited time creating your own. 

I choose to look at new challenges as new opportunities. With this new year, we have the opportunity to positively impact a new wave of nursing students. We can be role models for professionalism, compassion, and competence. We can use the new AACN Essentials to better our outcomes and our programs. We can better prepare our students for NGN with resources we already have in place, like UWorld. So let’s remember when we hit the reset button and hit the UWorld link on your computer!

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