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Canada Seeks More Foreign-Trained Nurses

Canada is in need of more foreign-trained nurses to augment the expected hospital staff shortage by 2022, based on a study by the Conference Board of Canada. Tens of thousands of nursing jobs will become available, placing the country and the immigrants on a win-win situation.

Aside from their contributions to the healthcare industry, the government of Ottawa and other provinces can generate $9 for every dollar invested on immigrant nurses. Experts said the investment makes more sense now that senior citizens are outnumbering younger generations. The study projected at least 60,000 nursing jobs are needed by 2022.

Michael Bloom, vice president in charge of industry and business strategy at Internationally Educated Nurses, agreed that investing in career bridging programs is a win-win situation that yields returns. Currently, there are 35 career-bridging centers in Canada, 12 of which are located in Ontario.

The study indicated that majority of Canadian immigrants with background in healthcare experience difficulty in getting their credentials accredited by the government. In fact in 2011, only 54 percent of foreign-trained nurses were able to get a matching job in Ontario. Unemployment rates are pegged at 6 percent for registered nurses and 8.3 percent for registered practical nurses.
There is also a clear gap of underemployment on the nurses’ citizenship. Irish nurses, for example, make up 70 percent of the healthcare staff population compared to 25 percent of their Asian counterparts.

The researchers conducted a cost benefit analysis of the government assistance fund and the projected revenue from the IENs. Normally, it would cost $13,441 to $30,400 to enroll in a few courses at a tertiary institution, though it varies depending on the complexity o the case

Bloom said the investment is justifiable considering that the government would collect $9,135 income tax revenue from each IEN and $4,522 from each RPN on top of the basic tax cut.

Many IENs choose Canada as destination of employment. Most IENs also spend their own money taking review classes and accreditation exams. With the help from CARE Center for International Educated Nurses, more foreign-trained nurses are given license to practice in Canada albeit the lengthy procedure.

Jane Kwansah, a registered nurse trained in Ghana in Africa, said both Canada and the IEN community will reap the benefits of this investment as they work together toward creating more avenues for recognition and training of nurses.

By Published: November 01, 2015


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