By Beverly Hansen OMalley.
Do you want to become a nurse in Canada? Did you graduate and work as a registered nurse in another country? The Canadian immigration doors are open to professionals particularly nurses who want to work in Canada.
Why would you want to become a nurse in Canada?
Providing that the Canadian immigration rules, policies, and working visa requirements are met you must follow the correct procedure to become a nurse in Canada. With the exception of providing proof of language proficiency this procedure is the same for all applicants even those educated in Canada.
Apply for your registration.
Write and Pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam
Once all your documentation is reviewed and accepted as “equivalent” you will be given permission to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam or the Canadian Registered Practical Nurse Exam. Which exam you write will depend on what type of nursing license you are seeking and what you qualify for. All provinces have separate nursing regulatory bodies for registered nursing and licensed practical nursing except in Ontario where all nurses are under the same regulatory association.
Substantially Equivalent Competency Assessment
The number of internationally educated nurses who want to become a nurse in Canada is increasing every year and there have been some instances where nurses were entering the system unprepared for the real job of aregistered nurse in Canada. Because of the variations in Education for nurses around the globe reviewing educational preparation and documentation turned out to not be a good predictor of success in the workplace in all cases. As a result a new evaluation has emerged called the Substantially Equivalent Competency assessment or SEC.
This is an evaluation that uses both a written test and an observation of your applied clinical skills using simulated nursing situations for the Canadianhealth care system.
The SEC evaluations are being done mostly in the western provinces. You may be required to undergo an SEC if your paperwork is not sufficient to support an equivalent education or experience as would be required of aregistered nurse in Canada. This often happens when a nurse graduated in another country some time ago and has many years of experience but cannot produce the complete educational documentation to support the application.
When your application to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam is complete there may be a waiting period because the exam is only offered every four months. However, you may be allowed to work during that time under a temporary nursing license provided all other requirements have been met. You must however, have an employer willing to hire you under a temporary permit and if you do not pass the CanadianRegistered Nurse Exam your temporary permit will be revoked.
Many internationally educated nurses are successful in obtaining their nursing license in Canada and the number of internationally educated nurses working in the Canadian health care system has gone up dramatically since the 1990’s. Between 2000 and 2007 approximately 20% of the candidates who wrote the Canadian Registered Nurse Exam were not educated in Canada.
Your journey to become a nurse in Canada might be lengthy so don’t give up! Being a registered nurse in the Canada health care system means having a secure well paid job that can provide you with challenge and meaning in your life, so it might just be worth it!
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