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Health officials in Quebec have discovered that a woman who had been working as a nurse and caring for hospital patients for 20 years was an impostor.

The health authority in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of eastern Quebec fired the woman this month from her position at the hospital in Jonquiere.

The health authority said the woman managed to get hired and keep her job by providing the nursing license number of someone with the same name.

Her ploy was discovered a few weeks ago when she enrolled in a training course. An official noticed that the age listed on her license number did not match up with her actual age.

"The case reported yesterday about a fraudulent job title at the Integrated Center for University Health and Social Services (CIUSSS) Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean is extremely rare," the Quebec Order of Nurses said in a statement.

"With its mission of protecting the public, the Quebec Order of Nurses (OIIQ) ensures that verification mechanisms are available to health care facilities at all times online, 24 hours a day."

The Order also said that its members are required to re-declare their status every year. 

She was immediately suspended pending an investigation, which led to her dismissal.

Before being exposed, the woman had worked in several departments of the hospital, including the operating room.

With files from CTV Montreal