Quebec's nurses order rejects call to delay exam despite concern over failure rate

MONTREAL — 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 said today 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.

While the order declined to change the date, it agreed to Gariépy's suggestion of allowing students who had failed for a third — and normally final — time to retake the test.

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.

Gariépy said nursing students have largely blamed what they see as flaws in the exam, while the order of nurses has suggested student preparation could have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press