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.

"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" - Gabriela Mizrahi

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." 

Meeting held this week

This week, the Quebec Order of Nurses met with Gabriela Mizrahi and two other nursing graduates to discuss issues raised in the petition.

Raphaël Bédard, who also graduated from the nursing program at Dawson College, attended that meeting.

He failed the Quebec licensing exam by just four percent and was hoping the Quebec Order of Nurses would cancel that result. Each nursing candidate gets three chances to pass the exam.

Bédard is disappointed his September exam result will count as one of the three attempts allowed. 

"We've tried to take steps to get some kind of justice but it seems our voices haven't been heard and I feel like a stranger in my own province." Bédard said. 

Now Bédard plans to write the exam to become a registered nurse in Ontario, where he says the process is fair.

"I feel like I'm almost betraying my province but I also feel betrayed." Bédard said.

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