VHA Invests In Internationally Educated Nurses
VHA Home HealthCare’s Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) have a long history of being an important part of our workforce. Our IENs bring with them their own unique experience and expertise and play a critical role in our healthcare system. Recognizing that the journey towards certification can often be a challenge for many IENs, VHA has many opportunities in place to help IENs complete their nursing certification and develop their careers.
See video below and hear from our IENs about how we’re investing in Internationally Educated Nurses:
Dorothy: As a new nurse, an internationally educated nurse, what I really appreciated about VHA is their support.
Sandra: Our internationally educated nurses are trained and experienced nurses who received education and professional designation in their home country. They bring knowledge, skills, and expertise and some have many years of practice. Here at VHA, we recognize the significant impact that these nurses have on the clients and homecare.
Joyce: I received my training in Nigeria, West Africa, where I worked for some years before migrating to United Kingdom. And I worked in United Kingdom, attended school as well, and then migrated to Canada.
Sandra: In order to practice in Ontario, IENs are required by the College of Nurses of Ontario to meet a set of requirements to obtain their licensure. So for many IENs, this can be a long and challenging journey to obtaining their registration.
Sonia: I received my nursing training back home in the Philippines at Baguio City. I had to go back to school – that’s what they required me to do. I had to complete 400 hours to make my Safe Practice and they wanted me to do some courses to meet my nursing education which is very difficult for me to do because I’m working night shift and I have no time to go to school.
Dorothy: Moving to a new country was definitely a challenge. Leaving what I knew, moving into a new health care system, trying to navigate a new health care system, figuring out what the licensing process was about. You’re coming in with no employment and trying to study at the same time figuring out “Where do I go to even start applying for work?” “Who do I reach out to to start applying for jobs?” or who knows anything about jobs. That was definitely a challenge.
Sandra: So the internationally educated nurses can work at VHA as a Personal Support Worker or Home Support Worker while studying for their Canadian nursing licensure.
Joyce: I started working at VHA November 2011 through an organization that informed me about VHA having an open house workshop. And I attended and I was interviewed. And I was employed as a an internationally educated nurse to be a PSW.
Sandra: Here at VHA, we understand the importance of providing opportunities for our employees to develop their careers by supporting their education. Through VHA’s Work Smart program, IENs can receive financial support for educational programs relevant to their career development. The program covers 50% of education costs. This is an invaluable support – especially for IENs facing financial barriers that make investing in education a challenge.
Joyce: I needed to go back to school. I have to work. And I have to study. So I learned about Work Smart at VHA which was a very good opportunity for me because VHA assisted me with a Work Smart for my tuition and so I was able to work, get the support from VHA and study. I was able to focus because my finances were being taken care of so that was really, really helpful for me.
Dorothy: I feel like VHA really [indistinct] has a huge platform about learning. Now that I’m in a different role I tell nurses “If you don’t grow with VHA that’s really on you”. I had a supervisor, who is still currently here at VHA, and she was very focused on growth. “You’re here, yes, as a nurse – but how can you grow in your role?” “How can you grow to go on to other roles?” And I felt very supported. I think… It was fun working with that supervisor knowing that they could see the potential and tried to pull that out of me. That is what I have appreciated about VHA, even these many years later.
Joyce: My career at VHA has been amazing. And the support I get from VHA, especially true Work Smart and also the team has been very, very interesting. And it’s helped me to be able to grow in my career.
Sandra: The demand for nurses in Ontario has grown significantly, especially throughout the pandemic. This means there are many employment opportunities available to them [IENs] and they can play a very important role in strengthening our health care system while supporting clients in their home.
Joyce: VHA has helped me as an internationally educated nurse to be able to fit into a workplace which is very multicultural and diversified. I have been accepted and it has helped me. I recommend it to friends that VHA is a good place to work and that there is opportunity to grow. And I’m still growing at VHA.
Dorothy: I’m glad to be working with an excellent, excellent team of nurses of which a large majority of whom are internationally educated. So if people are looking for opportunities, where to start, where to grow their experience, where to have varied experience because you can work in a clinic, you can work in the home, you can work as a part of a team, and also independently with autonomy, VHA is the place for you.