Nurses Benefit from Item Writing Workshop

Lesroy W. Williams…April 18, 2013…To facilitate the many changes taking place in the functioning of Regional Nursing Councils, which are at a critical juncture, eighteen nurses drawn from all areas of Nursing in St. Kitts and Nevis are now better equipped with skills in the principles and techniques of item writing.

In a recently concluded workshop on Item Writing (Test Development) held at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) from April 8-10, 2013, the eighteen participants (nurses) drawn from hospital and community settings and nursing education, hailed the workshop as a success and described it as extremely beneficial and informative.

“It served not only to provide new knowledge and skill for some, but it served to sharpen and renew skills in others in the principles and techniques of item writing,” one participant said.
The workshop, organized by the St. Christopher and Nevis Nurses and Midwives Council in collaboration with the Nursing Education Department of the CFBC, was facilitated by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs of the CFBC, Mrs. Delores Stapleton- Harris and Dean of the Heath Science Division, Ms. Shirley Kelly, who both are Members of the Nursing Council.
Mrs. Stapleton-Harris and Ms. Kelly registered their pleasure with the workshop.
“Heightened interest and sustained momentum were generally observed throughout the sessions,” both facilitators said.

The objectives of the workshop were to discuss the status of the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR); explain the process (theory and application) of item/test construction; develop items for pretesting and subsequent disposition to the item bank; and conduct item analysis of the October, 2012, RENR.

According to Ms. Kelly, one of the many changes taking place in Regional Nursing Council, is the proposed management of the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR) by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) envisaged to be implemented in October, 2013. The RENR, or the licensing examination, is an examination that has been developed, administered, marked and assessed exclusively by Nursing Councils of participating countries for the past twenty years.

“It seems evident, therefore, that if Nursing Councils are to remain key owners, viable stakeholders and co-partners of the RENR focus attention must be given to training, capacity building and strengthening in this area of Nursing Education,” Ms. Kelly said, lauding the Nursing Council for its visionary leadership and foresight in its responsibility of protecting the health of the public by ensuring that standards of nursing education and practice are maintained.

“This obviously would be essential in the preservation and sustainability of the structure and management process of the RENR. This fact has not eluded the National Nursing Council and that was the purpose of hosting the workshop,” Ms. Kelly said.

“One of the main objectives of the three day exercise was to continue building a cadre of expert item writers across the spectrum of Nursing that can contribute to the development and or/expansion of the regional test item bank, which is utilized for evaluating and or measuring students’ attitudes, achievements and performances,” Ms. Kelly added.

The Workshop was preceded by a brief opening ceremony to include remarks by Principal Nursing Officer and Chairman of the Nursing Council, Mrs. Henrietta Douglas Christmas, and Director of Programme and Employee Development at the CFBC, Dr. Leighton Naraine, and Ms. S. Kelly, who chaired the ceremony.

The workshop concluded with a promise for follow-up exercises in this regard to facilitate continuity in this vital process.

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