Replica | Let’s focus on the “how” of nursing education

In response to the response of the CEO of the Fédération des cégeps, Bernard Tremblay, to the editorial by Stéphanie Grammond on the training of nurses, published on 17 and 12 May.

Posted at 3:00 PM

Nicole Ricard

Nicole Ricard
Retired Nurse, Professor Emeritus at the University of Montreal

Stéphanie Grammond’s editorial on Nursing Education was excellent1 and I believe Bernard Tremblay was disturbed by an argument which he accuses…2 also inspired by those of the Order of Nurses of Quebec (OIIQ). I believe that, on the contrary, Mme Grammond is sufficiently aware of international needs and trends in nursing education and can make a thorough analysis of the current situation.

Through his arguments, Mr. Tremblay is fueling the perception that the OIIQ is against CEGEPs. How does justifying and asking for improvement in a profession, which has more and more responsibilities in the face of increasingly complex health problems, become an indictment of CEGEPs? We need to end this polarization that leads nowhere, examine the research data and find the best way to develop nurse training to meet the enormous needs and challenges of our healthcare system.

Mr Tremblay accuses the OIIQ of orchestrating the States General. States General on the nursing profession had not taken place since 1996 and many groups of nurses asked for it. Let’s not forget that the OIIQ has a mandate to protect the public and it was urgent to take stock of the situation and that’s what has been done in a completely rigorous way. An independent process was conducted through multiple consultation activities, surveys and public hearings. In particular, a citizens’ forum was organized and led by the Institut du Nouveau Monde.

Disturbing Findings

After consultation and deliberation, this Citizens’ Forum has issued an opinion based on fundamental principles, including the strengthening of initial training as an essential precondition for maximizing the role of nurses in care delivery. The findings emerging from the States General’s report are particularly troubling because a consensus is emerging on the urgency of solving the problem of the double access path to the profession.

As described in the editorial by Mme Grammond, this is indeed an anomaly: no other profession in Quebec chooses this double access road with all its problems. This report of the States General is alarming because it reflects a rigorous process resulting from a broad consultation with a diverse audience by identifying the various obstacles to the optimization of nursing practice in Quebec, including those of the double access of the access standard to the practice.

This report is troubling because it references research data, best practices, and national and international studies on the benefits of better nurse education.

However, Mr. Tremblay’s argument about the lack of serious studies conducted in Quebec to demonstrate the benefits of a college education is rather startling. It’s like saying that what isn’t demonstrated in Quebec is not serious and necessarily has no value. This means that the Fédération des cégeps does not recognize the legitimacy of various scientific studies conducted at home and abroad on the beneficial effects of better nurse training on shortage, attractiveness, job retention and career pursuit .

Furthermore, Mr. Tremblay refers to the report of the National Task Force on the Nursing Workforce to justify his position, because this report does not make a statement about university education as a solution to the problems of the nursing staff.

What Mr Tremblay fails to say, however, is that the task force recognizes the international trend from the point of view of the university education of nurses, but that this task force does not comment as it believes that this position is a decision of the Ministry of Education. A good way to pass the money to not make a decision!

We remain skeptical of the position of this working group, made up of many nursing experts, and regret that despite the data favoring university education, another report, watered down by officials, again ignores the application of best practice.

So what is Mr. Tremblay’s real motivation for opposing better education for all nurses in Quebec? Given that a transition plan is in place that takes into account the performance of nurses already trained at CEGEP and the fact that university education will not disappear for people who want to start their education at university and continue their education afterwards, we need to work together to to come to the how to make this transition rather than unnecessarily returning to the why.

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