Navigating the Next Generation NCLEX: Key Considerations



The landscape of nursing education is continually evolving, and one significant transformation in recent years has been the introduction of the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN). This new iteration of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) brings with it a set of novel challenges and considerations for both nursing students and educators alike. In this article, we will explore the Next Generation NCLEX and delve into key considerations for nursing education.

Understanding the Next Generation NCLEX

The Next Generation NCLEX is designed to assess the ability of nursing graduates to apply clinical judgment in various situations, emphasizing critical thinking and decision-making skills. Unlike the traditional NCLEX-RN, which primarily focused on testing knowledge and memorization, the NGN aims to evaluate a candidate’s capacity to make sound clinical judgments in real-world scenarios.

Key Considerations for Nursing Students

Critical Thinking Skills:

  • Nursing students preparing for the NGN must prioritize the development of critical thinking skills. The exam is structured to assess a candidate’s ability to analyze information, prioritize interventions, and make decisions in complex clinical situations. Engaging in case studies, simulations, and interactive learning experiences can be effective strategies to enhance critical thinking abilities.

Clinical Judgment:

  • The NGN places a strong emphasis on clinical judgment, requiring candidates to demonstrate their ability to assess and manage patient care effectively. Nursing students should actively seek out diverse clinical experiences during their education to hone their clinical judgment skills. This includes exposure to various patient populations and healthcare settings.

Adaptability and Flexibility:

  • The NGN is designed to adapt to the test-taker’s responses, presenting increasingly complex scenarios based on their performance. Nursing students need to be adaptable and flexible in their approach to problem-solving. This includes staying abreast of current healthcare trends, evidence-based practices, and technological advancements in nursing.

Key Considerations for Nursing Educators

Curriculum Integration:

  • Nursing educators play a crucial role in preparing students for the NGN. It is essential to integrate NGN-style questions and scenarios into the curriculum, ensuring that students are exposed to the format and expectations of the new exam. This can be achieved through the development of case-based learning modules and simulation exercises.

Technology Integration:

  • The NGN incorporates technology-enhanced items, including interactive graphics and video content. Educators should embrace technology in their teaching methods, exposing students to virtual patient simulations and incorporating multimedia elements into lectures. Familiarizing students with the technological aspects of the NGN will contribute to their overall preparedness.

Continuous Assessment and Feedback:

  • Implementing a system of continuous assessment and feedback is crucial in preparing nursing students for the NGN. Regular formative assessments, practice exams, and constructive feedback help students identify areas for improvement and refine their clinical judgment skills. This iterative process is essential for building competence and confidence.


The represents a shift towards a more dynamic and comprehensive evaluation of nursing competency. Navigating this new generation of licensure examinations requires a proactive approach from both nursing students and educators. By focusing on critical thinking, clinical judgment, adaptability, and technology integration, the nursing community can prepare the next generation of nurses to excel in their profession and provide high-quality patient care.


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