Quebec nurses who failed French test lose jobs at English hospital - page 3

montreal - two nurses at montreal's jewish general hospital, a primarily english institution, have lost their licences and their jobs because they failed to pass a french grammar test required by... Read More

  1. by   smk1
    Quote from hannahwiseman
    That's because there is no semi-official language of the U.S. Quebec is another story. I'd like to know why they studied in Quebec but did not improve their French language skills and avoid this situation altogether. Even though they might have studied in an English program in Quebec, I'm surprised they seemingly had no minimally acceptable French language skills for those schools. Job requirements are job requirements. I'm a French speaker so I'm probably having a different opinion about it than many here. I'd also be for French speakers to pass similar tests of knowledge in the English language. I know one thing, I would rather my healthcare professional speak the official language of where ever it is I reside. Imagine such a situation here in the U.S. where a doctor or nurse could barely get by in English conversation and their written skills were awful AND they have to fill out patient charts. One misplaced word or tense could kill someone.
    I could be wrong, but i think their actual french SPEAKING skills weren't the issue. They were required to take a grammar test and failed. How many older people who have been out of school for a long time could make this same error? MANY! (young people also now that I think about it.) I know that in my own native language of English, I forget when and where to use a semi-colon instead of a comma or colon sometimes, what exactly constitutes a run-on sentence, fragments, etc..., and I have always been an "A" student in English. I find it incredibly irresponsible that the 2 nurses were fired when the same article stated that this hospital has a serious nursing shortage. The two nurses could have just been put on probation and required to re-take the test within a ceratin amount of time. Also why were the physicians and pharmacists only suspended, yet the nurses were fired? :angryfire This is not right!
  2. by   hannahwiseman
    Quote from SMK1
    I could be wrong, but i think their actual french SPEAKING skills weren't the issue. They were required to take a grammar test and failed. How many older people who have been out of school for a long time could make this same error? MANY! (young people also now that I think about it.) I know that in my own native language of English, I forget when and where to use a semi-colon instead of a comma or colon sometimes, what exactly constitutes a run-on sentence, fragments, etc..., and I have always been an "A" student in English. I find it incredibly irresponsible that the 2 nurses were fired when the same article stated that this hospital has a serious nursing shortage. The two nurses could have just been put on probation and required to re-take the test within a ceratin amount of time. Also why were the physicians and pharmacists only suspended, yet the nurses were fired? :angryfire This is not right!

    Well, I also mentioned that writing skills are very important in healthcare. All in all, both aspects of communication skills are vital but this should have been stressed in their programs way back in the beginning or they should have been given a warning early on that they would have to update their overall skills. In healthcare, we have to keep up with the times and make sure we're in tune with all rules and regulations of job requirements. I don't know why the doctors and pharmacists were suspended only except that it's a harder field to enter and they are more "valuable...?" Yeah, right, sure. But you know how it is. Hopefully, more nurses aren't given the boot because there is such a critical shortage in Canada and the U.S. All I can stress is that people in healthcare maintain competency in all required areas and increasingly these days, there is a large emphasis on communication skills. It's not just any grammatical error but if they are not capable of communicating verbally or written in the official language of the Province well enough to maintain vital information, well... Does anyone know what was exactly on the tests and is there a test example out there for anyone to peruse?
  3. by   nbnurse95
    Hi, my cousin was also a nurse in Quebec who failed the french exam and had her lisence revoked. She's now here, in New Brunswick, working in a bilingual[U] hospital. Her husband is still in Montreal trying to sell their home so that he can come here with her.
    I work on the same unit and have heard her speak french to our many french patients and it's just fine, but not good enough for Quebec.
    She was actually told that she could stay in Quebec and work as an LPN. When she asked why her french was good enough to work as an LPN she was told, "that's the law".
    Well, the funny thing is that her husband called a couple of weeks ago to tell her that her temporary lisence has been re-offered pending the french exam, but she refused. (can't blame her)
    I think they should have to pass an oral exam and chart in their own language, that's what we do here. Some of us chart in english, some of us chart in french. and it all works out well.
  4. by   hannahwiseman
    Quote from nbnurse95
    Hi, my cousin was also a nurse in Quebec who failed the french exam and had her lisence revoked. She's now here, in New Brunswick, working in a bilingual[U] hospital. Her husband is still in Montreal trying to sell their home so that he can come here with her.
    I work on the same unit and have heard her speak french to our many french patients and it's just fine, but not good enough for Quebec.
    She was actually told that she could stay in Quebec and work as an LPN. When she asked why her french was good enough to work as an LPN she was told, "that's the law".
    Well, the funny thing is that her husband called a couple of weeks ago to tell her that her temporary lisence has been re-offered pending the french exam, but she refused. (can't blame her)
    I think they should have to pass an oral exam and chart in their own language, that's what we do here. Some of us chart in english, some of us chart in french. and it all works out well.
    I'm wondering what level of fluency they are requiring.
  5. by   CanUSRN
    I'm from Quebec and after losing my job in 1997 with all the healthcare reform I can really careless if Quebec has a nurses shortage. They got rid of about 100 000 nurses with their hospital closing. A lot of us came to the US and trust me they will stay here. You've got to be crazy to go back to Canada and pay all the taxes there.

    Now, regarding those nurses losing their license, they knew they were working in a FRENCH speaking province so they should have known french. When I came to the US, to have my permanent residency I HAD TO take an english test, oral and written, if not I was not staying here. I passed it and stayed. So be it for them too.
  6. by   Judee Smudee
    Will the nurse that posted sometime ago that she was unable to get a job at a certain California hospital because she was not able to speak Spanish please make a comment about this thread. At least I think I remember a post about it.
  7. by   Nurse4TI
    I understand the policy providing nurses who can communicate with the patients. The nurses should have taken it more seriously, especially if it meant maintaining their licenses.
  8. by   mctina_20
    why hire them in the first place?
    sue the hospital
  9. by   MNlpn
    I feel that if you're going to live and work in any country, you should be able to speak the native language!! Here in Minnesota we have huge immigrant populations (especially in the metro area). Many are African, but a lot from all corners of the globe. It's amazing how many work in our health care system here. Sometimes I wonder if they had to pass any English exams before hire. I can barely understand many of them and it can be somewhat frustrating. Patients even make comments because they do not understand what the nurse, cna etc are trying to tell them. But, God bless 'em, they are all hard workers! Lord knows we need all the hard workers we can get in health care!
  10. by   Sleepless In Canada
    I am presently living in Montreal, Quebec and I have been following this constantly while it was in the papers and one of the articles in the newspaper The Montreal Gazette was about how one nurse, was forced by the language police to write a document in french about how to set-up a computer systems network which has nothing to do with nursing, she immediately refused to take the test that they had given her due to the fact that she was a nurse and not a computer systems technician.

    Sometimes it feels like the language police is like a dictatorship without any monitoring or way to protest, because everybody have to follow what they say without complaint.

    I can only say that when I finish my nursing school I will be either working in Ontario, British Columbia or move to the states because it feels like they have no respect for nurses here in Quebec.

    I have another proof of how the language police can be even though this is a bit off topic, there is a bar and resturant just a few blocks from my house which has had their neon sign in english for years upon years without any trouble whatsoever and now suddenly they got a notification from the language police that after years of having their sign up without any problems, now they are suddenly forced to change their neon sign to french or face a the possibility of receiving a huge fine for not complying with the whims of the language police.

    I can't wait until I move away from Quebec, I am truly saddened by what is going on in this province.
  11. by   njmonsterboi80
    Surprisingly there are English only speaking people on the west side of Montreal. The british had a big influence on Montreal, some decided not leave after the language laws requiring that all services be offered in French.
    I'm not expert on Montreal, but note the streets on the west side. They're british.

    It's an interesting place to visit .


    Quote from zacarias
    I wonder why they were in Quebec pursuing nursing...were they quebecois?

    I completely agree with the boards decision. Canada is officially bilingual and Quebec is the heart of French Canada. I think their government has the right to require that their nurses pass a grammar test in French.

    I'm very surprised they couldn't pass the grammar test, it's curious really.
  12. by   lamazeteacher
    Quote from Ross1
    Not all Quebecois are francophone, though the majority are. In Montreal where this hospital is located, I believe about 20% of the population is anglophone.

    A quick word on Canadian bilingualism: While the Canadian Federal Gov't is officially bilingual, each province can make a decision about its own official language. The only province that is officially bilingual is New Brunswick.
    Even though many Quebecois/Quebecers are bilingual or speak just one language (English or French), the official language of the province is French.
    A longer word about the history before and as the Language Law passed:

    Your post saddens me, as I studied nursing at the JGH (Jewish General Hospital) in Montreal from 1957 to 1960. At that time, Montreal had 50% English and French speakers. There were French hospitals and English ones, all French neighbourhoods and shopping areas coexisting fairly well, but with some dissention from Anglophones toward Francophones and vice versa.

    The Catholic church there at that time discouraged Francophones (most of whom were/are Catholic) from speaking English (lest they became "more worldly") so most Francophone doctors, many of whom knew no English, didn't attend conferences in the USA. The people knew that, and so they preferred to see Anglophone doctors, who were reputed to be more up to date. The church discouraged that, and lobbied strongly for the "language law". As you might imagine Women's "choice" was and is a non issue.

    When the "language law" passed, there was a huge departure of Anglophones, as it declared that any business operated in Quebec, with 3 or more people in it, had to conduct all business in French - paperwork, speech, etc.
    So many doctors left for Texas (no additional examination to practise medicine then) and Ontario, Canada. The "language police" actively investigate and prosecute violators. I left long before it was enacted.

    Lawyers always had to write their examinations in French (although there were English Law Schools before the "Language Law", but not now) and argue cases in court in that language, or the professors grading the exams would fail them; and judges rule against them, as they don't understand English.

    I wonder how history will record this era of language phobia.

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