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Quebec Order of Nurses responds to exam translation concerns

01/14/2015 06:58 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT
Following the outcry of some English-speaking nursing students, the Quebec Order of Nurses is changing how it prepares the English version of its licensing exam.

Now, a second translator will look at the English version of the exam before it's finalized. 

The new measure will be in place before the next group of nursing candidates writes the exam in March.

"We're adding a step with another person that would be verifying the fluidity of the language," said Chantal Lemay, spokesperson for the Quebec Order of Nurses.

Many nursing students who wrote the English version of the provincial licensing exam in September complained of problems with the translation from the original French, putting them at a disadvantage.

They said words in the exam were sometimes missing or mistranslated, leaving the students confused.

In November, Gabriela Mizrahi, who graduated from the nursing program at Dawson College, launched a petition demanding changes to the way the exam is translated. She collected more than 400 signatures.

At the time, the Quebec Order of Nurses insisted its translation process was solid. 

Since then, the Order has met twice with all the English language institutions that teach nursing. Those meetings have produced two other changes.

At its conference next October, the Order now plans to offer an English-language exam preparation session.

Previously, it was offered only in French and was poorly attended by students from English-language nursing schools.

The Order also plans to send out a newsletter every two months, with tips in English on how to prepare for the licensing exam. 

"I'm very glad that there's going to be a change ... the whole point of this petition was to bring about change and we've done that," Mizrahi said.

But Mizrahi says she's disappointed little will change for those who failed the September exam. Those students will still be forced to pay to re-write the exam in March and many have also paid for a review of their failed grade on the September exam.

"In bringing in a new translator, a new step to the translation process, that's sort of an acknowledgement that something's not quite right. Yet... they're not (factoring) that into the review process that people are paying $200 for." 

The Order says the overall success rate for the English exam last September is still not available.

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