Jannete Morton wants to resume her career as a nurse, but is appalled the competency exam is full of irrelevant political type questions.
Jannete Morton wants to resume her career as a nurse, but is appalled the competency exam is full of irrelevant political type questions. RON BURGIN

Nursing test is unreasonable

A BUNDABERG woman is bewildered after failing a nursing competency exam she claims was made up of “ridiculous and irrelevant” questions.

Janette Morton had been a nurse for more than 10 years when she was forced to give up work to take care of her sick father.

The single mother of two cared for her dad for eight years until he died in December 2007.

Ms Morton said she was keen to go back to work, but she had met several road blocks in the process.

“I rang the Nursing Council to find out how I could get back to work, but they weren’t helpful at all,” she said.

“They said they take ‘special circumstances’ into account, but still to this day I don’t know what they are.”

Ms Morton was referred to a Competence Assessment Service Test at CQUniversity, which determines whether a nurse, who has been out of work for more than five years requires further knowledge and clinical skills.

But Ms Morton said she felt the test included very few questions relating to the field of nursing that would assist her on the job.

“I don’t see how the question, ‘what was the percentage of non-English speaking people in Australia in 1997?’, is going to help the poor little old lady who has broken her leg,” she said.

“They expected me to know where the majority of Aboriginal people live in Australia. How will that save someone’s life?”

CQUniversity Competence Assessment Service program manager Gordon Kerkhan said these questions tested knowledge needed for cross-cultural nursing.

“We live in a huge multicultural society, and if you don’t know these things, then you are not competent in that area,” he said.

“Sometimes people don’t see the obvious answer in the questions.”

Mr Kerkhan said he thought Ms Morton’s concerns were invalid.

“That’s her problem or her choice if she can’t get the questions right,” he said.

“Hundreds of nurses return to work every year through this program. The brightest thing to do is say: ‘I’ll do the courses and get myself current’.”

Ms Morton said she was unsure where she would go from here.

“I really want to go back to work,” she said.

“Nursing is what I have wanted to do all my life. My mother was a nurse and it was all I ever wanted to do.”



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