Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Language Police in Quebec Strike a Blow Against the Health Care System?


Well this particular item of news is abjectly stupid. The Quebec Nursing Association has forced two nurses working in an English hospital to seek work outside the province because they failed a french grammar test. Now it would be ridiculous to do this to begin with - these nurses were working in an English hospital. However, the truly incredible part of the story is they've done this while Quebec is facing a nursing shortage.

A head nurse at the Jewish General Hospital told reporters that the departure of the two nurses comes at a bad time, because many hospitals in Quebec are facing a serious nursing shortage.

In a statement, the hospital said the nurses were excellent employees and it wanted to keep them, but Quebec's order of nurses refused to renew the licences because of the language test results.

The hospital said it cannot keep unlicensed nurses on staff.

Personally, I'd worry more about their medical competence and whether there are sufficient nurses to treat patients than whether the nurses complied with the Order of Nurses' notions of "languistic purity". After all you would think a health care organization would be worried about people's health first, but not in Quebec!


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