Quebec’s order of nurses is rejecting a recommendation to push back the date of its next licensing exam amid an ongoing investigation into why more than half of candidates failed the last sitting.
The order, known by its French acronym the OIIQ, said Thursday that the next exam will go ahead on March 27 as scheduled, but nursing students will be given the option to wait until the next date in September if they prefer.
The commissioner who oversees access to the province’s professional orders said last week that it was still too early to explain last fall’s abnormally high failure rate.
André Gariépy recommended the next date to write the exam be pushed back while he continues his probe into what happened.
In an interview with Radio-Canada’s Tout un matin Thursday morning, OIIQ president Luc Mathieu said the postponement of the exam to an indefinite date was not an option.
“People in health care say, well, we need nurses who can practise fully,” he said.
“Someone who is only a candidate for the practice of the profession, they require closer supervision … and [they] can’t practise in certain health-care domains — everything considered critical care — such as emergency or intensive care.”
While the order declined to change the date of the exam, it agreed to Gariépy’s suggestion of allowing students who had failed for a third — and normally final — time to retake the test.
This exemption will count only for the students who failed the last sitting, Mathieu clarified.
Gariépy’s interim report found that just 45.4 per cent of nursing students passed the Sept. 26 licensing exam, compared to a pass rate of between 63 and 96 per cent in previous sittings.
Gariepy said nursing students have largely blamed what they see as flaws in the exam, while the order of nurses has suggested student preparation may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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