The Canadian province of British Columbia is making it easier for internationally trained nurses to work in its healthcare system by providing financial support as well as a more efficient pathway for assessment.
Now, Internationally Educated Nurses(IENs) are not required to pay the application and assessment fees upfront, which is more than $3700. The province will bear these expenses and this move aims to remove the barriers for IENs to work in British Columbia.
Speaking about these changes, British Columbia Premier David Eby said, “Supporting nurses is key to our work to making health care accessible to all British Columbians. Still, the demand for nurses is outpacing the supply.” He further said, “There are talented and skilled nurses with the right experience who want to practise in B.C. and support high-quality care, but they are kept on the sidelines by an expensive and complicated registration process. Whether a nurse was trained in or out of the province, we are ready to welcome those who are ready to care for British Columbians.”
Financial assistance for nurses in British Columbia
The province is also providing financial support to nurses who return to practice after a period of absence. Now they no longer need to pay the application fee of $300. Further, they will be provided with a financial support of $4000 for covering the assessment and travel costs when they take assessments to re-enter the workforce. If they require any additional education for returning to practice, they will also receive as much as $10,000 in bursaries.
Adrian Dix, the health minister of BC, said that the provincial government was planning to recruit and train more healthcare workers with an aim to meet the healthcare needs of British Columbians. “In creating more accessible careers for nurses in B.C., we are delivering on our commitment to build a sustainable health system for many years to come,” he said.
Efforts to attract more nurses to British Columbia
In April 2022, British Columbia announced that they will be spending $12 million to provide bursaries for IENs, launching a new marketing campaign, providing navigational supports to new and incoming IENs through HealthMatch BC and launching a consolidated assessment approach.
As a result, around 5500 new people expressed their interest to the healthcare workforce of BC. Also, 2000 people are at various stages of their registration and assessment. So, among the nursing applications received by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), almost 90% came after these changes were implemented.
In September 2022, British Columbia announced committing another $1.3 million for setting up a new pathway for making it more efficient for IENs to get licensure to practice in BC.
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