Internationally educated nurses to get head start in relicensing before immigrating to Canada

posted on April 14, 2016

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has funded a new program at CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) to help immigrating nurses get a head start on the registration process through Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS). PASS serves IENs while still in their country of residence, and are designed to shorten the time that IENs spend from arrival in Canada to professional registration and employment.

“Along with individualized case management, PASS offers informational webinars and online learning. Each client participates in group sessions as well as individual counselling tailored to their unique sets of circumstances,” says Meghan Wankel, PASS program co-ordinator. “IENs will become well-informed about nursing in all parts of Canada, as well as learn the differences between various regulatory bodies and the wide variety of educational and employment opportunities available.”

PASS for internationally educated nurses
There is no cost to enroll in PASS, which will introduce IENs to the nursing environment in Canada, refer them directly to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) for initial application and provide links to the regulatory bodies in all provinces and territories. “In conducting research into settlement, educational, employment and professional development areas, I was really struck by how much information is available to IENs, and how much is essential for them to know,” says Mehrzad (Nicholas) Ghadiri, PASS program assistant. “PASS is an indispensable resource and tool for IENs coming to Canada, free of charge. The Ontario Government (along with the Government of Canada) has funded CARE Centre for fifteen years to help IENs in this province. Now the IRCC funding allows us to reach IENs in that important window before they come.”

PASS includes 100 hours of online programming that can be completed in different scenarios, depending upon the nurses’ date of arrival in Canada. PASS includes online courses providing nursing-specific language and communication training and webinars on employment-related topics, equipping IENs with knowledge and support for speedy and successful entry into the healthcare field. PASS also offers online sessions connecting national employers to IENs and a mentorship program linking IENs to nurses in destination provinces.

PASS commenced services to IENs early in 2016 through referrals by the Canadian Immigration Integration Project (CIIP) and Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA), two federal agencies that have joined under the name of Planning for Canada. “It’s really exciting to present live webinars and be connected to IENs in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Ireland and the Philippines, all at the same time,” says Wankel. “I’ve already had a husband and wife pair of IENs land in Toronto since we started, and IENs have told me that PASS is helping them in many ways.”

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