This blog was written by Meghan Wankel, the Program Coordinator at Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS).
CARE Centre’s Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) Program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, serves internationally educated nurses (IENs) who are planning to immigrate to Canada. To help IENs achieve their goals of registration and meaningful employment in Canada, PASS not only provides guidance and encouragement but ensures that IENs are well-informed about the credentialing assessment process, the Canadian healthcare system, as well as the wide variety of available educational and employment opportunities. Since program inception in 2016, over 700 nurses have accessed services and supports through PASS, with destinations across Canada.
In partnership with the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), PASS provides IENs with opportunities to connect with expert nurses based upon shared clinical backgrounds and provincial destinations. Experienced Canadian mentors help IENs increase their understanding of Canadian practice settings and provide access to vital networking opportunities. Mentors provide IEN mentees with spoken, interactive guidance that cannot be found in textbooks.
For one IEN mentee from the Philippines named Dawn, accessing mentorship through PASS had a tremendous impact on her professional life. Dawn was connected with mentor Diane, a passionate and experienced Ontario-based nurse who helped create and design the CNA-PASS Mentorship Program. Diane provided Dawn with insight into her specialized areas of interest, counseled her throughout the registration process and helped her find avenues for skill enhancement and employment.
After landing in Ontario, Dawn continued to receive supports through CARE Centre for IENs and achieved her licensure as a Registered Nurse. After attaining her first nursing position, Dawn informed both Diane and PASS, “I have great news! I have accepted a job offer at a hospital! Thank you so much for all the support since day one and up until the job search. I really appreciate it all.”
The successful registration and integration of IENs like Dawn provides immense value to the Canadian health care sector, which is facing a significant and immediate and long-term human resources challenge. The Canadian Nurses Association predicts a nation-wide nursing shortage of nearly 60,000 full-time nursing positions by 2022.
Along with filling dire labour market shortages, the valued skills and knowledge IENs bring to Canada will serve an increasingly diverse patient population. To date, PASS has served nurses from 50 countries who speak 59 languages. IENs will continue to make a vital contribution to the Canadian health sector.