Challenging the NCLEX
Hello. I'm a foreign medical graduate, licensed in another country, US Citizen, interested in pursuing a career in nursing. I've heard that you can "challenge" the NCLEX, meaning that you can take it and get licensed without any formal nursing education (bachelors, associate degree). Is there any truth to this? Thank you for your time.
Great question! Can a United States citizen with a foreign non-nursing degree (in this case, an MD) challenge the NCLEX without a formal education in nursing specifically? The answer depends largely on where you wish to practice, as each state board of nursing has its own NCLEX eligibility guidelines.
Most state boards of nursing require candidates for NCLEX-RN (registered nurse) licensure by examination to have a CGFNS Certificate. CGFNS certification is designed specifically for first-level general nurses only (i.e., those applicants who are already practicing registered nurses in another country and who received a formal nursing education outside of the United States). CGFNS certification entails a thorough credentials review of foreign education, licensure and registration, a qualifying exam and, in some cases, the TOEFL exam for English proficiency. Therefore, it is not likely that a foreign-educated MD would be able to take the NCLEX-RN to obtain licensure as a registered nurse.
You may, however, be eligible for NCLEX-PN (practical nurse) licensure by examination. If the state you wish to practice in allows it, you will need to utilize the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service. The CES evaluates the educational and professional credentials of a variety of healthcare professionals. The CES will review your credentials and provide a summary report to your designated state board of nursing. The state board of nursing will then make a decision regarding your eligibility to sit the NCLEX-PN and become licensed as a practical nurse.
For more information on the Credentials Review Service, visit the CGFNS website
. To find out if your state utilizes the CES for LPN licensure consideration, contact your state board of nursing. Good luck!
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum