The departments of Advanced Education, Health, and Labour and Immigration are launching a three-pronged plan to help reduce barriers for internationally educated nurses. This includes expanding nurse bridging programs and clinical placements while streamlining the regulatory process and creating a new online platform to help internationally educated nurses navigate the process.
Advanced Education is spending $3.5 million in 2022/2023 to begin expanding educational opportunities for internationally educated nurses.
Currently, internationally educated nurses face long wait times and little financial support to be licensed to work in Alberta. A co-ordinated plan to address these barriers, while still upholding the high quality of care expected in Alberta, will better support the immediate and future needs of the province’s healthcare system.
“Alberta is the best place in Canada to live, work and raise a family,” said Jason Kenney, premier at the time this announcement was made. “There is huge global demand for more healthcare workers. This strategic approach will help get more highly skilled and qualified nurses into our healthcare system faster, while reminding the world of all the advantages of living in Alberta.”
Advanced Education will collaborate with post-secondary institutions to expand the number of seats in existing bridging programs as early as January 2023. New bridging programs and a bursary to support internationally educated nurses with the cost of becoming a nurse in Alberta will also be developed.
This program is part of a larger government initiative to ensure that qualified individuals entering regulated professions and designated occupations or trades do not face unfair processes or barriers. This includes the passing of the Fair Registration Practices Act and the creation of the Fair Registration Practices Office.
“Too many internationally educated nurses are unable to perform at their skill level because of the cost and wait time for bridging programs. We are removing these barriers and helping more internationally educated nurses practice their trade to better themselves and our healthcare system,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of advanced education.
Further, the governments of Alberta and the Philippines have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist in the recruitment of both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses from that country. This agreement identifies Alberta as a preferred destination for Filipino nurses and it was agreed to following several months of negotiations between the two governments.
The Philippines-Alberta MOU on the recruitment of nurses includes:
• Access to help navigating complex regulatory systems.
• A streamlined assessment and licensing program.
• Greater access to bridging seats and clinical placements.
• A bursary program to help with costs associated with credentialing in Alberta.
• Options for further partnerships, including the potential to establish an Alberta accredited nursing program in the Philippines.
• A clarifying process for the recruitment and selection of nurses from the Philippines.
• A joint committee to monitor progress on MOU actions.