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Nursing Employment Prospects in Canada








Over the past days, newspapers and television newscasts have been reporting about prospective jobs in Canada for various kinds filipino workers in the fields of construction, information technology, and healthcare among others. On top on the list for professional workers in great demand are registered nurses.


In an advisory on its website, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said that several provinces in Canada have adopted a Provincial Nominee Program to facilitate the entry of immigrants to its labor force.

It added that the Canadian Human Resources and Social Development reported that 1.9 million new jobs will be created over the next decade (2006 – 2015) particularly in the Western provinces of Canada such as Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

This, indeed, is a welcome development for filipino nurses who are looking for alternative foreign employment opportunities in the face of the current visa backlog for nurses wanting to migrate and work legally in the United States. At the moment, the visa backlog is retrogressed up to 5 years back and the possibility of it being lifted in the near future is dim until after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

However, what the newpaper articles and T.V. newcasts failed to report is that a duly licensed registered nurse in the Philippines does not automatically qualify for a nursing job in Canada. Like the United States, Canada mandates anyone wishing to practise nursing in their jurisdiction to take and pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) and like any other exam, there are costs associated with it. This means that the prospect of finding employment and subsequent migration to Canada as a registered nurse is not as easy as it sounds.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Nurses Association is predicting a continued shortage of nurses in the near future thus necessitating the need to hire international/foreign nurses. This is a golden opportunity for the Philippines--being the world's biggest exporter of the best nurses. Since Canada is in dire need of nurses from the Philippines, perhaps now is the best time for the Philippine government to negotiate for some special agreement with Canada like mutual license recognition between the two countries (reciprocity) or licensure by endorsement, or a local CRNE testing center.

There's a popular idiomatic expression that goes, "
Beggars can't be choosers" and in this case, I don't think the word 'beggar' refers to the Philippines.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Health region recruits in the Philippines
Pamela Cowan, Leader-Post
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2007
Hundreds of Filipino nurses eagerly applied to work in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region -- many because of the high wages they can earn here.
"Just last week the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region went to the Philippines and had a successful recruitment tour," said Linda West, the region's interim vice-president of Human Resources. "We recruited 90 RNs and we'll probably get about 80 to actually come. They're very high-skilled, they've got excellent English and a wide range of nursing skills."
She said it wasn't hard selling Saskatchewan, in spite of our frigid winters, since a full-time nurse in the Philippines earns between $125 and $150 a month.
"The worst-case scenario that was in the group that we interviewed, she actually volunteered for two years before she was able to make that minor wage," West said. "There's severe unemployment in the country. They're graduating about four times as many nurses as they need so it's a really tough road to prosperity."
The Filipino graduates of the four-year university program will have one year to write their national exams after they start work in Regina.
"We were selecting people who have graduated from their program within the last five years and who have had a good solid work experience in one of their larger hospitals," West said.
"In fact, 550 applied, we interviewed 170 and we've come away with 90 people that we've offered jobs to."
For several years, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses has been calling for immediate action to address the nursing shortage in the province.
According to SUN's annual audit this year, Saskatchewan needs more than 1,000 nurses and they predict the nursing shortage will only get worse when an additional 1,428 registered nurses and psychiatric nurses become eligible to retire in 2010.
Currently the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region has 145 vacant nursing positions. While more nurses are needed, 90 is the most that can be easily integrated into the system, West said.
"The 30 graduates that are coming this December and the graduates that are coming in the spring won't fill our needs so we're having to recruit nationally and internationally," West said.
Based on the experience of other health-care facilities, West expects that about 10 to 15 per cent of those selected won't come or could encounter a glitch in the immigration system.
By the fall of 2008, 80 Filipino nurses will be on the wards in Regina's two hospitals.
When the first nine recruits arrive in Regina in January and February they will work on medical and surgical wards. Nurses with emergency room skills won't arrive in Regina until spring.
"Emerg is clearly one of our areas where we've got a lot of shortages," West said.
The average age of the newcomers is 25 and the oldest is 42.

Anonymous said...

If you're a nurse, Canada would be a nice alternative. I just think the Canadian winter would be a bit too much for a nurse who's used to the tropics :D I could be wrong...

Anonymous said...

New nurses land in Regina
Pamela Cowan, Leader-Post
Published: Friday, February 22, 2008
Karen Pachao got off the plane in Regina eager to expand her nursing experience, but she wasn't prepared to experience the bite of Saskatchewan's winter.

"My first thought was 'Oh my God, I'm going home,' " said the 27-year-old Filipino nurse. "Here it's like walking into a big, big freezer. Back home it's like walking into an oven because the temperature is about 30 degrees Celsius. It was quite a shock when we got here!"

Arriving at the Regina International Airport late Sunday night, Pachao was among 12 nurses -- the first batch of 80 -- the RQHR recruited from the Philippines in November. The next group of nurses is expected to arrive in Regina mid-March.


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Karen Pachao (right) and Beverly Redula are nurses who arrived from the Philippines on the Family Day long weekend. Edwin Malang is an RN, also from the Philippines, who has worked in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region for five years.
Bryan Schlosser, Leader-Post

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Font:****Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Beverly Redula echoed Pachao's first impressions.

"Canada is a huge freezer, I'm sorry to say that, but the warm welcome that we've received from the people has really made up for the cold weather," she said.

Leaving her husband and four children behind until she's established was hard, but the 42-year-old hopes they'll eventually join her in Regina. Until then, the family will benefit financially. In Manila, despite five years experience as a dialysis nurse, Redula made $10 per eight-hour shift. Working as a graduate nurse in the RQHR her starting wage will be $23 an hour. Pachao welcomes the higher wage and the chance to expand professionally.

"If I were to be honest, I couldn't probably do that at home," she said. "Home was good. The Philippine nursing scene was OK, but we all know that technologically we're not that well equipped and I wanted to experience that."

Three Filipino nurses will work at the Pasqua Hospital and nine at the General Hospital, said Linda West, the region's vice president of human resources.

Registered nurse Edwin Malang is encouraging the new group. The former Filipino resident moved to Regina with his family five years ago. He and his wife, also an RN, work in the OR at the Pasqua Hospital.

"Before coming here I had some experience in Saudi Arabia but since 9/11 things changed there and I told my wife that we have to find a different place where we can practise our profession and carry on supporting our family back home," Malang said.

In November he was thrilled to become a Canadian citizen and he joined the RQHR's recruiting team to the Philippines. Nurses who were chosen to come to Regina were given a $5,000 relocation grant from Sask Health and a one-year work visa.

The training nurses receive in the Philippines is identical to that taught in American universities, said West.

The new nurses will receive an extensive seven-week orientation before they start working. They'll be initiated to the units they'll be working on, learn about Canadian nursing practices and be prepared to write a national exam they must pass in the first year. Once they pass the exam the health region will offer them a longer contract and they will become landed immigrants.

West will be among a delegation who will travel to Manila on Feb. 28 to attract another 300 nurses to Saskatchewan.

"We will be recruiting somewhere between 50 and 70 nurses but for specific areas such as the ICU, ER and family medicine," West said. "When we get all the 80 that we recruited then Pasqua will only be short four ER nurses instead of the big numbers that they've had in the past."

Anonymous said...

i passed the local board last june 2007. currently, i volunteer for a local hospital just so i can have a work experience.. after reading the article, i really want to work in canada and also i have an aunt who is willing to help. the only problem is, i really don't have any idea where to start with my application.. HELP!.. thanks =)

Lyle, RN said...

Here's something that might help you.
http://filipinonurse.blogspot.com/2008/04/guide-in-applying-for-canadian.html

Goodluck!

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