July 28, 2009

Guide for Filipino Nurses | Live and Work in Canada

This is a follow up entry to the June 2009 Nursing Board Licensure Exam Results. This is actually a guide for Filipino nurses who plan to live and work in Canada based on the actual experience of Mark Joseph V. Hernandez, a registered nurse, who is kind enough to share his experience for the benefit of other Filipino nurses planning to work in Canada.

My communication with Mark started when he asked for information about Canadian Tourist Visa application, as he is planning to write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) and then later asked for assessment of his qualification under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

Marked graduated in 20007 and passed the Philippine Nurses’ Licensure Examination in the same year. Mark sent his resume last January 2009 and that time, his work experience is just less than one year. Thus, he is not yet eligible to apply. I told him to look for employers through online application, which he did.

Mark happily told me today that his Provincial Nominee Program Nomination Certificate from British Columbia have just arrived and he is now in the process of completing the documents for submission to Canadian Visa Office - Manila!

Now, he wants to share his experience and information he gathered in the process. Here it goes:
Let me share my insights on how to become a Nurse in Canada.

I would say that it is a two-fold process:

1) credentialing and licensure
2) employment and deployment

You need to satisfy these 2 processes to become an RN in Canada. You can have first, the employment and deployment, then have the credentialing and licensure afterwards, or you can have the other way around. It doesn’t matter as long as you satisfy these two-fold process, both were fine. You can have it simultaneously as well, which I personally recommend, to expedite the process and waste no time.

There are 2 categories of jobs in Canada. Regulated and Non-Regulated; Nursing is under the classification of Regulated jobs; thus, there is a regulatory board in each province which covers the jurisdiction on the practice of Nursing. For example:

• Manitoba – College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM),

• Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA),

• Alberta – College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA),

• British Columbia - College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC)

Here's the complete list of Provincial and Territorial Regulatory Bodies of Nurses in Canada for your reference.

To continue with Mark's insights...
They are responsible in regulating the practice of Nursing in their jurisdiction. Hence, you need a “go” signal from them or meet their requirements to practice Nursing in their respective location.

First, choose your target destination or Canadian province of your choice. Then access their Board of Nursing, and know their requirements for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs). Upon completion of the requirements, forward your documents/credentials at the same time you may start searching for potential employers. So that while you’re waiting for your “go” signal, you are being productive of your waiting time.

By the way, each province mandates its own requirements; each province varies on their requirements so you better be careful with the details. Some of the provinces who are lenient on their requirements are: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, etc. Note also the timeline, so if you’re in a hurry, I would suggest to choose a province that you think there are less applicants and lenient requirements.

But the common denominators to become an RN among all the Provinces are:

1. BSN degree – hence they are requesting for BSN diploma and Official Transcript. Hence, there would be a form to be submitted to your School of Nursing, and the School would send it back directly to them.

2. RN license – so, you need to become RN in your place of origin. Hence, there would be a form to be submitted to PRC, then PRC would send them directly a verification that indeed you are a nurse here in the Philippines.

3. English/French Fluency – IELTS, TOEFL, CELBAN or French Assessment etc.. I would suggest taking these fluency assessments first before proceeding to the application, because they won’t process your application if it’s incomplete. There would be no “to follow” documents. Chances are, they would be returning your application and advise you to comply first with the requirements before submitting your application.

Upon submission of requirements, you would receive a feedback from assessment of your Board of Nursing. But, timeline varies in each province, so there’s no exact waiting time. It may be:

a) Yes, you’ve met all their requirements (the “go” signal)
b) Not yet, you need to comply with other requirements to commence your application (i.e SEC assessment, Bridging Program, etc.)
c) No, you did not meet their requirements

In my case, I received an eligibility to take the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) and an application for Interim Permit. Because, CRNE is only offered three times a year, you can work as a Nurse while waiting for your exam schedule, which would be an orientation to Canadian Healthcare System and good as review as well. Then once you passed the Canadian RN Exam, your Interim Permit would be automatically converted to Full RN Permit. The Interim Permit is good for a maximum of 9 months and renewable for a maximum of three times, because you can only take the CRNE to a maximum of 3 attempts.

That's Mark's insights for Credentialing and Licensure. Now, here's Mark's suggestion for employment.

For employment part, generally most of the employers are searched online if you want a direct hire process.

Generally, your WORK experience really matters. It will be your ticket to a job offer may it be direct hired or thru recruitment agencies.

For direct hiring, usually there are health authorities governing each province. They are the ones active in international recruitment and also I think they have specific program for internationally educated nurses. Such as:

Alberta – Alberta Health Services

Manitoba - Assiniboine Regional Health Authority

British Columbia – www.healthmatchbc.org

I’m sorry; I’m not familiar with the other provinces. I suggest you may want to search the health authorities on your target destination and have the diligence to research on the hiring process for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs).

Mark got his employer through www.healthmatchbc.org. Canada Jobs Portal could also be of help.

Mark also shared some insights on what to do after you received your job offer but since I have already written about it before, I opted to just make a summary.

The type of application you will file at the Canadian Visa Office depends on the nature of support that your employer will give you, to wit:
  • For Provincial Nominee Program, you need to have your nomination certificate from the Province before you may file your application at the Canadian Visa Office.

  • For Labor Market Opinion (LMO), you need to apply for Temporary Work Permit at The Canadian Visa Office. An LMO does not guarantee that you will be issued a work permit.

  • For Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO), you will have to submit your application first to Centralized Intake Office (CIO) for assessment. Only when you received the positive notice of Assessment that you may submit your application to Canadian Visa Office.

  • Many thanks to Mark for the insights. It will sure help Filipino Nurses planning to live and work in Canada!