Category Archive Volume 5. March 2014

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

Making Connections – CARE Centre’s 2014 – 2017 Strategic Plan

This first issue of CARE Centre’s IEN Connector for 2014 brings the opportunity for our Board of Directors to release CARE Centre’s 2014 – 2017 Strategic Plan. Through a consultative process with our membership, staff, and key informants in the healthcare and settlement sectors, we renewed our Vision, Mission, and Values and identified our strategic priorities for the coming three years. We will enhance our continuum of service to support IENs to become successful in Canada while we increase public awareness of contributions made by IENs in nursing and healthcare. Our continued efforts to achieve long-term financial sustainability, promote a healthy work environment and nurture current partnerships and cultivate new ones, will all be important enablers for us during this next three year period.

As in the past, CARE Centre’s success in its new directions will include collaboration with key organizations who continue to work with us and inform us. CARE Centre is currently in discussions and actively working with a variety of new partners, including Confederation College, pRN Alberta, Georgian College, Carecor and Rouge Valley Health System. These organizations are working to educate, orient, employ and advance IENs in Ontario and Canada, and CARE Centre is grateful to be able to both give and receive advice from these partners to further develop our programs and services. Many of CARE Centre’s custom offerings have been adapted for external delivery, and we look forward to working with partners old and new in advancing our service to IENs.

On that note, I would like to thank the CARE Centre staff team who continue to balance a challenging workload, both in the number of IENs they support while also engaging with the community through various networks. They make CARE Centre’s achievements possible, and it’s an honour to work with them. I say the same for our volunteers on the board of directors, who are constantly striving to provide firmer footing for the organization in all matters, especially financial sustainability. We will be welcoming new board members this spring and look forward to their direction joined with the ideas and energy of staff to together deliver on the 2014 – 2017 Strategic Plan. Please view it in more detail on our website:

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente


Edsel Mutia Wins the 2013 CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award
CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses was pleased to present the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award to Registered Nurse Edsel Mutia at a special breakfast reception at North York General Hospital at the end of November. Mutia is currently a RN and Charge Nurse in the Critical Care Unit. The award is named after the late nursing leader Dr. Joan Lesmond, who championed the cause of IEN education and integration. “Ever since he first joined CARE Centre, Edsel has been a huge mentor to our member IENs,” said his CARE Centre Case Manager, Lourdes Vicente. “Edsel has a young family and is very active in his church, but has such a strong nursing focus, to the great benefit of his patients, their families, his colleagues, and especially other IENs. Even as he gains career success he always remains humble. He is so deserving of the award and recognition of his dedication and his efforts.”

Kim Brooks and Edsel Mutia at the award ceremony

Kim Brooks and Edsel Mutia at the award ceremony

Kim Brooks, currently Director of Regional Development for Bayshore Home Health, worked with Edsel 10 years ago in Saudi Arabia and was a surprise guest at the event. “I hired him and promoted him to a charge nurse at our ICU in a new hospital in Riyadh,” said Brooks. “He is truly a wonderful nurse and an amazing person.” See a video of Kim speaking about Edsel here: Along with his commemorative plaque, Edsel received a $500 cheque for winning the award which he planned to donate to Typhoon Haiyan relief, and he also collected donations at the reception. In summarizing his work as a nurse in Canada, Mutia said, “The best part of my job is working hard to help some of the most vulnerable patients in the hospital get better and go home to live their lives.” Dr. Tim Rutledge, President and CEO of North York General said, “North York General is proud to support the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award and to recognize Edsel for making a world of difference to his patients, colleagues and our hospital.” Watch a video of Edsel’s acceptance speech here:

2014 Conference for Internationally Educated Nurses set for November in Toronto

Conference for IENs 2014

Conference for IENs 2014

The 1st Annual Conference for IENs will take place at the Novotel Hotel in North York, Toronto with an evening reception on Wednesday, November 26th and full-day conference on Thursday, November 27th. The theme of the gathering is “Internationally Educated Nurses: Enhancing Canadian Healthcare”. Volunteer committees comprised of CARE Centre member IENs and others are collaborating to build the event “for IENs, by IENs”. Conference organizers are seeking partners to help underwrite costs beyond registration revenues, and to receive wide recognition for their support of IENs and the conference initiative. There are various levels of sponsorship available with logo placement on the website and in all collateral conference materials, exhibiting space, delegate bag inserts, complimentary registrations and speaking opportunities. Sponsors will be top-lined in all media relations materials and advertising placements. The main objectives of the conference are to provide an opportunity for IENs across Ontario to meet, network and share ideas relevant to their growth in the nursing profession; to identify and discuss pertinent issues to facilitate registration, integration and advancement of IENs in the healthcare workforce; and to create awareness of the significant contributions IEN make to diversity in the healthcare workforce, cultural expertise and excellence of practice. Visit the CARE Centre website for early registration and information updates:

OCASI Panel on Employment for IEHPs Now Available for Online Viewing

The OCASI Panel

The OCASI Panel

This past November CARE Centre Professional Practice Lead Ruth Wojtiuk spoke on a #CdnImm panel discussion produced by CARE Centre and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). The #CdnImm event series helps to promote connections, encourage further sharing of information, and expand the community of collaborators in order to enhance understanding of the sector and improve services. The noted panelists shared their experience and expertise in access to employment for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) included Nuzhat Jafri, Office of the Fairness Commissioner, who also served as moderator, Wayne Oake, Access Centre for Internationally Educated Health Professionals, HealthForceOntario, Christine Nielsen, The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, Surranna Sandy, Skills for Change and Sylvie Beauvais, Canadian Immigrant Integration Program. The session examined ways to help settlement workers in directing IEHPs to the supports they need to achieve registration in regulated fields or to transfer their skills to alternate careers. Panelists also reviewed pre-arrival and immediate post-arrival supports to increase employment-readiness, discussed regulatory and labour market trends, and shared ideas for increased collaboration to improve access to professional designation and employment outcomes. Watch the discussion at:

Mt. Sinai’s Ally Project Fosters Understanding and Action

Zubeida Ramji in Mt. Sinai's Ally video project

Zubeida Ramji in Mt. Sinai’s Ally video project

Executive Director Zubeida Ramji was invited to be part of the Ally Campaign at Mt. Sinai Hospital, appearing in one of a set of five videos produced to build understanding about the experiences of healthcare colleagues and patients who face various forms of discrimination. Ramji spoke about racialized nurses in the video on racism, while additional videos on mental health and addiction, gay, lesbian and bisexual people, trans, intersex and two-spirited people and people with physical disabilities are also available for staff training purposes. The goal of the Ally Campaign is to empower employees to combat workplace discrimination by giving them the knowledge, skills and confidence to see past their own privilege to recognize overt and covert discrimination and to interrupt instances of discrimination. CARE Centre staff had the privilege of a presentation by Mount Sinai Hospital Human Rights and Health Equity Specialists Irit Kelman and Moya Teklu and encourages you to view the videos on YouTube or through the Mount Sinai website:

CARE Centre at Kingston’s 2013 Diversity Works

Nick Noorani at Diversity Works with CARE Centre's Iris Kennedy

Nick Noorani at Diversity Works with CARE Centre’s Iris Kennedy

Kingston CASE Manager Iris Kennedy attended the Kingston Immigration Partnership’s (KIP) annual Diversity Works conference to represent CARE Centre as a presenting sponsor. Diversity Works brings together new immigrants, local businesses and community organizations to share knowledge, build contacts and promotes the importance of Internationally Educated professionals in the local economy. Keynote speaker this year was Nick Noorani (pictured). Nick is the bestselling author of Arrival Survival Canada, founder of Canadian Immigrant magazine and Managing Partner of Prepare for Canada. CARE Centre partner Kingston General Hospital received the Employer of the Year Award for creating opportunities for immigrants, and showing a dedication to diversity and support for community efforts to welcome and integrate immigrants. Find out more on the KIP website at

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

On the Job – Kenneth Cruz

Why did you choose to become a nurse in Canada?

Around eight years ago, despite my interest in the computer sciences, nursing was the path I chose to take. During that time, my mother was already working as a NICU Registered Nurse here in Canada. I saw her passion and dedication to patient care that’s why she was my inspiration to take up nursing. I was sponsored by my mother to come here and I have been living here since September 2010.

Who is your employer and what is their client focus?

The Oshawa Community Health Centre — it is a community-owned, non-profit, charitable organization whose services include family medicine, social work and counselling, and a variety of health promotion and community development groups, many focusing on children, youth and women. The Oshawa Community Health Centre utilizes a team of supportive and skilled professionals including child and youth workers, doctors, social workers, counsellors, nurse practitioners, RNs, RPNs and health promoters to deliver services. Our centre is unique for the reason that we are responsive to the health needs as defined by our Oshawa community.

What kind of nursing skills do you use with patients every shift?

I utilize technical and soft skills with patients every shift. Technical skills include general nursing skills such as, but not limited to, performing well child and adult assessments, immunizations, venipuncture, wound care, advanced nursing foot care, technology-related skills and documentation. Soft skills include patient advocacy, health education and health promotion and communication skills.

How did your nursing experience in your home country prepare you to do this job in Ontario?

The experience I bring from my home country is from my clinical placements as a student. My rotations in Community Health Nursing prepared me to work in Primary Care – such as performing health education, immunizations, and conducting home visits. The rest of my nursing knowledge in Ontario was from continuing education courses at George Brown College and training provided by my employer.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Working in a variety of roles – Primary Care Nursing, Telemedicine Nursing, Hepatitis C Nursing, Foot Care Nursing and Community Outreach. Despite the multiple roles I play, I consider myself blessed. Even though I get caught up with multiple concerns, I love the variety of patient needs I encounter every day. I believe that in the long run, I will be able to do more and advance to higher skills as long as I keep on believing in myself. Even though I feel like I still have lots more to learn, I perceive this as an opportunity for me to grow. Like most IENs, there are challenges that we do not expect, therefore we should always be prepared and not afraid to ask for more information.

What should other IEN RPNs know about doing a job like yours?

Kenneth on the job in Oshawa

Kenneth on the job in Oshawa

My job evolved through the training provided by my employer. I have one message for all IENs out there: Further your education! Continuing education is the key to success. Explore options for education in your workplace. If you are still seeking a nursing opportunity, look to your interests and pursue what available learning options are there are so when an opportunity arises, you can grab it immediately.

What’s been your proudest nursing moment in this job?

Every day is a different scenario at work – assisting patients to become more independent, teaching students and developing their skills and making a small difference in people’s lives every day. At the end of each work day, I am proud to say that no matter how tired I get and stressed with work and life, seeing their smiles and appreciation is enough for me to get going no matter what.

How would you like to advance your nursing career?

Even though I was not granted my RN eligibility by the CNO right away, as pliant as a bamboo tree, I will never give up on that dream, to continue moving forward to reach my goal, and serve as an inspiration to other IENs to do the same. In order to do that, I am currently enrolled at York University’s IEN to BScN program. I am more determined to keep studying and prove that I can be a Registered Nurse here in Ontario. In addition, I see myself studying to become a Nurse Practitioner someday.

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

In Your Community – The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority

Recently, two CARE Centre member nurses contacted their case managers to share their experiences working in Northern Ontario for the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA). Analiza Manuel wanted to let IENs know that nurses are always needed and will receive very good benefits and time off for travel. She also sent photographs of her work and extraordinary living environments.

Angeline Peruelo shared a video encouraging members to apply to WAHA “for a brighter future for your career and to do something worthwhile and different in your life.” WAHA is responsible for providing comprehensive health services in the beautiful Weeneebayko region along the James Bay and Hudson Bay coastal regions in northern Ontario servicing six communities: Moose Factory, Fort Albany, Attawapiskat, Moosonee, Kashechewan and Peawanuck. This very scenic and diverse area is rich in Aboriginal culture and history. WAHA is the result of an October 1, 2010 amalgamation of the Weeneebayko Health Ahtuskaywin (federal hospital) and James Bay General Hospital (provincial hospital). WAHA offers emergency room and operating room services along with In-Patient and Out-Patient services.

RNs Analiza Manuel, Simranjit Benipal and Joanna Sim

RNs Analiza Manuel, Simranjit Benipal and Joanna Sim

WAHA also offers a traditional healing program that combines contemporary health services with traditional healing practices. This program was designed in response to the community’s needs and reflects the region’s desire for the resurgence of traditional knowledge and practices.

The WAHA Nursing Services Department works closely with doctors to provide hands-on care for patientsWAHA has specialized nurses in the following areas: Operating Room, Dialysis, In-patient or Long-term Care, Obstetrics, Pre-natal and Post-natal care, Family Medicine, Telemedicine, Emergency, Infectious Control, Occupational Health and Safety, Staff Training and Management. A registered nurse is available to provide care to patients attending each WAHA site 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Job postings can be viewed at

Angeline Peruelo at the Weeneebayko General Hospital

Angeline Peruelo at the Weeneebayko General Hospital

Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

Partners and Programs – Confederation College a Gateway to Northern Ontario Nursing Jobs

Another fruitful partnership with an academic institution has developed between CARE Centre and Confederation College. Confederation meets the educational needs of students in a catchment area of 550,000 square kilometers. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, the College has eight regional campuses located in the communities of Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora, Geraldton, Marathon, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Wawa. Confederation also offers BScN and practical nursing programs, and has recently opened a relocation information service, Northern Canvas Project, available to all nurses interested in working in Northern Ontario. Confederation College met with members at CARE Centre’s head office to offer advice to IENs (and spouses or partners) interested in employment opportunities in the communities they serve.

Representative Tim Kerbashian discussed individualized planning, including choice of communities, employers, postings, resumés, additional education, employment pathways, relocation costs, housing, and timeframes. The service has launched a Facebook page with numerous job listings for both RNs and RPNs: While the Northern Canvas Project does not have funds to help in job search or relocation, resources are available through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care’s Nursing Community Assessment Visit Program:

Funding Better Educational Outcomes for IENs

CNF Collage of Appreciation from award recipients.

CNF Collage of Appreciation from award recipients.

At the end of February the Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF) did a webinar presentation to inform members about scholarships available to IENs. For over 50 years, the CNF has helped nurses learn, investigate and advance nursing best practices. The CNF seeks to improve the delivery of health care by awarding scholarships to promising nursing students and nurses at all educational levels, and by funding nurse-led research that enhances the quality and efficacy of patient care. The CNF offers over 50 different scholarships, and has two special categories available to IENs. The RBC Diversity in Nursing Fund has funds available up to $3,000 to subsidize the cost of bridging programs, including language training, as approved by the regulatory body of the province or territory. The Tecla Lin & Nelia Laroza Memorial offers $3,000 for IENs to complete bridging programs or Canadian baccalaureate degrees. Awards are limited to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are studying in Canada at a Canadian university or college. Applicants must have at least three semesters remaining in their program after June 30. Certain awards have additional eligibility criteria and the value or availability may change without notice. IENs may apply to other categories but may only receive one award per annum. There are currently eight IEN RBC scholarship recipients, and you can read their stories on the CNF website at The CNF asks that all applicants read the Guide to the Online Application Process. This document provides a detailed outline of the process to complete the online application, and identifies all of the documentation required and how to complete reference forms. All scholarship applications require the following documentation: confirmation of registration in the next semester of your program; recent transcripts or web-based grades; three references (from academic supervisors where possible) and other documentation as specified in the eligibility criteria of a specific award. The CNF also recommends that you familiarize yourself with the merit review process to ensure that references provide the best appraisal possible. All applicants are required to pay a non-refundable $35.00 fee to help cover administration costs. Online applications must be submitted no later than midnight EST on March 31st, 2014. Applicants will be informed of results by the end of June. To find out more visit – and good luck!