The Order of Nurses of Quebec is changing course by announcing that it will temporarily suspend its project which would have required nurses to hold a university degree before practicing in the profession.
THE Order of Nurses of Quebec (OIIQ), which regulates nursing in the province, says it will focus its efforts on improving the licensing exam at the end of nursing studies.
In May 2022, the order announced that it wanted new nurses to obtain a college degree. However, since then, the exam that nursing students must pass to enter the field has been criticized due to its high failure rate, with some nurses calling for a change in the way future nurses are tested.
The largest nurses union in Quebec, the Quebec Interprofessional Health Federation (FIQ), welcomes this decision.
“The FIQ invites the OIIQ to now focus its energies on the fundamental issues of the nursing profession,” declared the president of the FIQ, Julie Bouchard. “These problems have been denounced by the OIIQ in the past. For example, the employer moved nurses from one care unit to another without adequate preparation.
Bernard Tremblay, president of the Fédération des cégeps du Québec, also welcomes the decree dropping the university requirement, citing a labor shortage and a 7 percent drop in enrollment in nursing programs in 2023.
Tremblay says attracting young people to the profession is a challenge. He says he wants Quebec’s health ministry to do more to promote CEGEP-level nursing degrees so the province’s next generation of nurses can apply with “full confidence” that they will be able to to exercise.
Quebec currently has approximately 81,000 nurses, 53 percent of whom have a bachelor’s degree.
The OIIQ also suspended its plan to use the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), used in the United States and other Canadian provinces to obtain a license to practice.
“It is recommended that nursing candidates do not wait for the NCLEX-RN to register for the professional exam,” said Alexandre Banville, chief of staff of the order’s presidency.
The next exam is scheduled for March 26 and will be open to all candidates, regardless of the number of failures.
In November, the Office des professions du Québec announced that it wanted to force the OIIQ to review the admission exam.
In January, the OIIQ’s annual report showed that it had issued fewer permits in 2022-2023 than in the last decade.