Workshop to build a cadre of expert item writers across the nursing spectrum

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS(CUOPM) – A three-day Item Writing (Test Development) Workshop organised by the St. Christopher and Nevis Nurses and Midwives Council in collaboration with the Nursing Education Department of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC was aimed at 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. 

So says Dean of the Health Sciences Division at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), Ms. Shirley Kelly, who said it is being utilized for evaluating and or measuring students’ attitudes, achievements and performances.

The Workshop was facilitated by Mrs. Delores Stapleton Harris, Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs, Ms. Kelly, Dean of Health Science Division and members of the Nursing Council.

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

In expounding on the critical nature of the workshop, Ms. Kelly lauded the Nursing Council, for its visionary leadership and foresight and for being ever cognizant of its magnanimous responsibility of protecting and safe-guarding the health and well-being of the public by ensuring standards of nursing education and practice are maintained.

More specifically, the workshop aimed at accomplishing several objectives including discussing the status of the RENR Item Writing Bank, explaining the process (theory and application) of item/test construction, developing items for pretesting and subsequent disposition to the item bank and conducting item analysis of October 2012, RENR.

The workshop was also described as being quite timely in particular at a critical juncture, when many changes are taking place in the functioning of Regional Nursing Councils. One such 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. 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, Ms. Kelly concluded, as demonstrated by the hosting of the workshop.

Attending the workshop were eighteen (18) participants drawn from all areas of Nursing in St. Kitts and Nevis to include Hospital and Community Settings as well as from Nursing Education. The general feedback of participants was that the workshop was extremely beneficial, informative and was hailed tremendously successful. It served not only to provide new knowledge and skill for some, while for others it served to sharpen and or renew skills in the principles and techniques of item writing. The Facilitators thought that heightened interest and sustained momentum was generally observed throughout the sessions.

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