Flawed licensing exam led to half of Quebec nursing students failing, report finds

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MONTREAL — An investigation has found that hundreds of prospective nursing candidates were denied entry into the profession last fall due to a flawed exam administered by their professional order.

The independent commissioner who oversees access to Quebec professional orders raises questions about the reliability and validity of the order of nurses' entrance exam.

André Gariépy's second progress report includes several recommendations to correct flaws in the methodology and says the exam likely contributed to the low success rate in September, when only 45 per cent of candidates passed.

Gariépy opened an investigation after receiving complaints and raised concerns about the exam and the training in a report published in January.

He has now concluded that the nursing order unjustifiably changed the passing mark for the exam administered in September, leading an additional 500 candidates to fail.

Quebec's nursing order — the Ordre professionnel des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec — had blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the dismal results, but said in a statement today it will take a closer look at Gariépy's report before responding.

Gariépy is expected to issue a third report into the training and preparation of candidates to round out his investigation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.

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The Canadian Press