Nursing college, union strife plans to hire hundreds of internationally trained nurses

A provincial government plan to employ internationally trained nurses to solve urgent hospital staff shortages is not going down well with Manitoba’s Registered Nursing School and Union, who say it could take years to recruit these nurses. to get work.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon said on Wednesday that there are more than 90 internationally trained nurses who have gone through the process of obtaining a license and could start working within days, and that about 1,360 internationally trained nurses have met the requirements. basic criteria to work in Manitoba. .

“And as we know, ICU beds are the most staff-intensive beds in our health system, so if we can get these nurses in the system, we’ll open more beds,” she said at a news conference, after it was pressed. how she will increase the capacity of Manitoba’s intensive care unit.

But the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba says it has no idea where Gordon got those numbers.

To their knowledge, there are only seven applicants who meet the provincial requirements, and 48 applicants are currently in various stages of registration, said college spokesman Martin Lussier.

In response, a county spokesperson said the figure of 1,360 is based on the number of inquiries received through the online intake portal.

Lussier says the college has repeatedly requested meetings with Gordon and/or Prime Minister Heather Stefanson to discuss the registration process for internationally trained nurses, but has also not had the opportunity to meet.

“In that vein, we have little to no knowledge of the characteristics or criteria the county uses to determine ‘eligibility’,” Lussier said in an email.

“This form does not ask for much of the information needed to determine whether an internationally trained nurse is eligible for RN registration in Manitoba (or other Canadian jurisdiction).”

Lussier said the figure likely also includes potential candidates for licensed practical nursing.

No short-term solution, says union

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba said they are committed to supporting applicants through the process.

“We recognize the need to continue to find new, innovative solutions to expand the healthcare workforce in Manitoba at this critical time, and we remain committed to continuing our partnership with government, Shared Health and other stakeholders, to find ways to register without compromising security,” said Jennifer Breton.

In any case, the president of the Manitoba Nurses’ Union says the province should not promote this as a solution to the current pressures on the health care system, because it will take years to get these nurses to work.

“It’s not a short-term solution, it’s a long-term solution. We’re not getting those nurses into the system in two weeks,” she said.

“I mean, I’m talking to nurses who have been successful and who come here as IENs (internationally trained nurses) and have been successful, and I’m talking about two to three years before those nurses get into our system and register and working as a nurse at the bedside.”

Jackson says the county should have started this years ago and now focus on retaining the nurses it has.

As of October 2021, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority had a shortage of 1,331 nurses, a vacancy rate of 17.3 percent.

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