CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award to Recognize One RN, one RPN IEN of the Year

Member IENs may self-nominate to enhance their workplace relationships

For Immediate Release
Toronto, July 5, 2015

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the annual Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award, recognizing both a member Registered Nurse (RN) and a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) who show outstanding professionalism in their nursing workplace, and commitment to their patients and families. The award was established in 2011 to honour the late Dr. Joan Lesmond, a nursing leader who championed IEN access to the nursing profession. The award celebrates CARE Centre’s member nurses for their contributions in Ontario, and shines a spotlight on healthcare employers who provide a welcoming workplace to IENs.

“This year our board’s committee overseeing the award process recommended a change in the nomination process so that our member IENs can nominate themselves, and seek letters and statements of support from any number of colleagues or clients.” said CARE Centre Executive Director Zubeida Ramji. “There’s a focus on workplace orientation and integration for IENs, but this award serves as a reminder that IENs bring global experience to Ontario healthcare; many have been expert nurses and teachers in other countries. By recognizing their nursing excellence in their new Canadian jobs, it also shines the spotlight on employers who allow IENs to thrive.”

Loy Asheri, an RN in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto won the inaugural award in 2011. Asheri is originally from Tanzania and now also works with CARE Centre as a part-time case manager. The 2012 award-winner was Ismail El-Assaad, a Palestinian RN who works in the ICU at London Health Sciences Centre University Hospital and is completing an advanced degree. RN Edsel Mutia, originally from the Philippines, who works in Critical Care at North York General Hospital, received the IEN of the Year Award in 2013. When the award was expanded to include two winners in 2014 the recipients were Adela Belisario, an RPN working in Complex Continuing Care at Baycrest while completing her RN certification, and Ahmad Baki, an RN from Iran who works as an Oncology nurse at University Health Network. Both awards were presented at the first annual Conference for IENs this past November in Toronto, thanks to the corporate sponsorship of PRINTBRAIN and its president Joshua Benezrah. The second annual conference will take place this year on November 19th and 20th in Toronto, with the dual awards presented at a luncheon on Friday the 20th.

To be eligible for the award, the IEN has to be currently registered as a nurse in Ontario (RN or RPN); be practicing as a nurse for at least one year, and be a member of CARE Centre for IENs. Nominations can be submitted by the IEN with support from any of the following groups: Nurse Manager and/or Administrator; Team Leader; Peers (nurses, health care discipline team members, and physicians); Patients and/or their Families. The main criteria for consideration are: the IEN being nominated consistently demonstrates professionalism and an excellent quality of presence and caring that assists people in the holistic healing process, a fundamental value of nursing practice; the IEN consistently displays exemplary professional knowledge and practice; and the IEN consistently promotes an atmosphere of team work.

The deadline for submissions is September 11th. Nomination kits, a downloadable poster and video backgrounders are available at

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses has supported over 1,500 nurses from more than 140 countries to become registered in the province since 2001. CARE Centre is a not-for-profit professional organization funded by the Ontario Government and the Government of Canada. CARE Centre provides IENs with the one-on-one case management, language and communication skills, exam preparation, professional development, mentoring and networking to be successful in the nursing profession. CARE Centre recognizes the value of nurses with diverse education and experience and is committed to advocating for their full contribution to Ontario’s health care system. CARE Centre for IENs is a registered charity (Charitable Number 84420 5948 RR0001).

To learn more about CARE Centre and its work, please visit

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For more information please contact:

Tina Novotny, BA, BJ, MA
Communications Specialist
CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses
45 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 512
Toronto, Ontario, M2N 5W9
416-226-2800 ext.240

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