The Commissioner for the Admission of Professions reprimands the Order of Nurses of Quebec (OIIQ) in a new investigation report on the September 2022 exam, the success rate of which reached 51.4% among candidates who were doing it for the first time. The Order “must get to work”, he says, and “correct the flaws in its examination” while waiting for the American test (NCLEX-RN) to be implemented “in a few years”.
The Commissioner, Mr.e André Gariépy, made public on Tuesday his third and final progress report concerning the OIIQ examination of September 2022. He criticizes the Order for not having “given tangible, valid and complete follow-up” to the recommendations of its second report “to improve the validity and reliability of its review”.
He wrote that, “contrary to certain assertions by the Order, it did not apply the recommendations of the stage 2 report to correct its examination or did so selectively or erroneously”. “The Order’s approach suggests an approach aimed essentially at confirming its position regarding maintaining a generally high passing score on the exam,” he continues.
According to the Commissioner, the impact of the pandemic “is not a generalizable, sufficient and conclusive explanation for the unusually low pass rate in the September 2022 exam”. He therefore does not want to risk asserting that more students failed because they were less well trained. “The flaws and weaknesses of the Order’s examination, particularly concerning its validity, its reliability and the establishment of its passing score, remain the main explanation,” he judges.
As part of his investigation, the Commissioner distributed a questionnaire to 55 college and university educational establishments that offer nursing technology or a bachelor’s degree in nursing science. He conducted interviews with some of them. His conclusion? The effects of the pandemic have been uneven across establishments.
It reports that 41.7% of CEGEPs suspended theoretical courses during the pandemic compared to 42.9% of universities. It indicates that 62.5% of CEGEPs and 71.4% of universities experienced laboratory “suspension times”. As for internships, “periods of suspension” were noted in 93.8% of CEGEPs compared to 85.7% of universities.
He nevertheless notes that several establishments have adjusted. This would have made it possible, overall, to “reduce the impact of the pandemic on the training and apprenticeship continuum”. It does not conclude that there is a direct link between the impact of the pandemic and the low success rate in the exam, even if it is an “apparent and intuitive logic”.
The American exam (NCLEX-RN)
The Commissioner also points out in his report that the possible deployment of the American NCLEX-RN exam first planned for 2024 by the OIIQ is “unrealistic”. He explains that “comparison work and adaptation of the American exam” to the Quebec reality will have to be carried out by the Order and its partners, which will “probably take a few years” according to him.
To take part in this work, he continues, “the Order must have in hand updated fundamental documents describing the profession in Quebec. At the moment, these are absent, incomplete or obsolete,” writes the Commissioner.
Further details will follow.