Gains en compétence et coûts financiers du rehaussement des différentes formations infirmières au Québec

Quebec is the only province where it is possible to work as a nurse technician without a bachelor's degree. To practice their profession, nursing assistants need a Diploma of Professional Studies (DEP), while nurse technicians need a Diploma of College Studies (DEC). A university undergraduate degree is required to practice as a clinical nurse, while specialized nurse practitioners need a Master's degree in nursing in addition to a specialized post-graduate diploma.

Since 1996, all Canadian provinces except Quebec have raised the entry requirements for the right to practice nursing by making a baccalaureate degree in nursing mandatory, following in the footsteps of several other countries. What would be the economic impact of such a move in Quebec? This report proposes answers to this question in three areas.

First, the results suggest that the private and social return on education for a clinical nurse compared to a nurse technician is 18% and 11% respectively. Thus, raising the educational requirements for nurses to a university undergraduate degree would have a positive impact at both the private, i.e. individual, and societal levels. In terms of healthcare system costs, raising the educational requirements for the nursing profession would increase costs by up to $263 million annually for the entire healthcare system in Quebec. This cost increase is mainly due to the fact that the salary scale for a clinical nurse is higher than that of a nurse technician. Finally, the authors estimate that to meet the needs of the Quebec population by 2041, the nursing workforce would have to be increased by around 33%. If we compare this growth rate with that of the last 10 years, additional efforts will be required.

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