Category Archive CARE News

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2015 Conference for IENs Image Gallery

Enjoy a selection of conference photos including the Opening Remarks, Keynote Speech, Panel Discussions, Concurrent Presentations, the 2015 CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award presentations, our sponsor exhibitors, our donors, volunteers and our many delegates.


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CELBAN @ CARE Centre: Practice for the iCELBAN Test before 2016 Test Dates!

Are you considering options for fulfilling your language proficiency requirement? The CELBAN test is designed specifically for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) to meet language proficiency requirements. In preparing for the CELBAN, you also prepare for your nursing career in Canada. Do you need an opportunity to experience what the CELBAN test is like before your official test date? The Institutional CELBAN, or iCELBAN, is now available at CARE Centre. The iCELBAN assessment allows participants to have a test-taking experience that closely mirrors the official CELBAN test, complete with feedback and scoring to evaluate your readiness for the official test. Results will be available within 10 days of test completion.

Are you interested in other programs to help you prepare for the CELBAN test and for nursing practice in Canada? The iCELBAN test is also a mandatory pre-assessment criterion for entry into CARE Centre’s CELBAN Preparation and Orientation Course. Based on your performance on the iCELBAN test day, you will receive a recommendation regarding your suitability for this eight-week course. Please contact Robina at 416-226-2800 ext. 221 for upcoming iCELBAN test dates and additional information on CARE Centre’s CELBAN Preparation and Orientation Course.

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Nurse and digital media expert Rob Fraser to share secrets at November Conference for IENs


Robert Frasers new book, ” The Nurses Social Media Advantage “

Registered nurse, author and digital media strategist Rob Fraser will help kick off the Welcoming Reception at the second annual 2015 Conference for IENs Thursday, Nov. 19.
The conference, presented by the CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses, will showcase Fraser at 6 p.m. to discuss nursing and social media, and why the profession needs to embrace new tools to enhance both their careers and Canadian healthcare.

Fraser, BScN, RN, MN, is passionate about how technology can change the way we share information. His creativity and interest in technology became an important part of his nursing career when he was an undergraduate. In 2008, he launched Nursing Ideas , an online nursing repository for connecting nurses and nursing students with leaders, innovators, and researchers in health care. Video interviews with guests have ranged from Marla Salmon, former chief nurse of the United States, to journalist and nursing advocate Suzanne Gordon.

The website attracted more than 75,000 visitors from 118 countries, which validated Fraser’s belief that nurses can benefit from using technology and online tools. After finishing his undergraduate degree at Ryerson University, Fraser was recruited to complete his Master of Nursing degree at the University of Toronto. While still completing his graduate degree, he published his book The Nurse’s Social Media Advantage, which won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award.

He was also selected to join the Canadian Nurses’ Association’s inaugural Expert Commission on the future of healthcare, which published its report, A Call To Action, in June 2012. Fraser has experience working on innovation for government, research translation and knowledge mobilization in a healthcare technology start up, and advising hospitals, healthcare organizations, and pharmaceutical companies on the use of social media.

He has served as a board member for VON Canada, and Chair of Emerging Health Leaders. He has also volunteered on local and international community development projects in Trinidad and Tobago, India and Cambodia. Rob’s passion is working on projects focused on improving the utilization of digital tools to engage providers and patients in improving health and healthcare.

Today he is working at Covenant House Toronto, a youth homeless shelter in their healthcare clinic as Clinical Nurse Lead. Rob is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Western University, where he continues to collaborate on the use of social media for public health.

For more information and to register for the conference please visit the CARE conference site.

As published in NurseNewsline: subscribe here.





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CARE Centre Case Managers are now available to meet with IENs in the offices of community partners around the Greater Toronto Area!

CARE Centre Case Managers are now available to meet with IENs in the offices of community partners around the Greater Toronto Area. These co-located offices are listed below. For information on service hours and to speak with a case manager to book an appointment, please call CARE Centre’s main phone number at 416-226-2800.


3100 Rutherford Road


c/o Kababayan Multicultural Centre
1313 Queen Street West, Suite 133

c/o Touchstone Institute
902-80 Bloor St. West


c/o Access Employment
Dorset Park Hub
1911 Kennedy Road, Suite 105

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CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) is pleased to be the focus of a Conference Board of Canada report

CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) is pleased to be the focus of a Conference Board of Canada report Measuring Returns: Valuing Investments in Internationally Educated Nurses.

It follows a 2012 Conference Board of Canada profile of CARE Centre in their Organizational Excellence library as a “best practice” model.

Read the full Press Release and find out how to obtain a copy of the report at the link below.

Press Release

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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

Government Funders

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OSCE Now Delivered at Touchstone Institute (Information and FAQs)

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) FAQs

What is IENCAP?

The IENCAP (IEN Competency Assessment Program) is a standardized examination designed to test the knowledge, skills and communication abilities of an Internationally Educated Registered Nurse. It consists of:

  • MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions): a short, written multiple-choice exam that tests general nursing knowledge.
  • OSCE (Objective Structures Clinical Examination): a series of mock client examinations in a clinical setting. Candidates taking part in this exercise will play the part of a registered nurse and apply their knowledge, skill and judgment in a number of client/caregiver situations.

For more details:

Why have I been asked to complete an OSCE?

After assessing your academic credentials the College has determined that your nursing program does not meet the program equivalency requirement for Ontario registration. You have been be asked to complete an Objective Structured Clinical Examination to demonstrate your nursing knowledge, skills and judgement before the College can proceed with your application.  Administered at the Touchstone Institute (formerly known as the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad) in Toronto, the OSCE gives applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their nursing knowledge, judgment and skills.

How does the OSCE work?

  1. Following application to register as an RN in Ontario, the College of Nurses (CNO) assesses the application to determine if the applicant’s educational background meets program requirements.
  2. If the applicant does not meet program requirements, the College will instruct the applicant to undergo an OSCE evaluation. Applicants who wish to appeal the College’s decision and continue with their applications without completing the OSCE will be referred to the College’s Registration Committee.
  3. Once the College has confirmed that you consent to an OSCE evaluation, Touchstone Institute will provide you with information about how to apply online and schedule your appointment.
  4. The OSCE and the MCQ are both completed on the same day at Touchstone Institute’s offices in Toronto.
  5. Candidates should expect to be at Touchstone Institute between five and six hours.


How many times can I do the OSCE?

One time only!
It is critical that you prepare in all 3 areas:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Communication

 How can CARE Centre help me prepare for the OSCE?


  • CARE Centre offers an Enhanced Communication Skills Workshop. Client interviews are an important part of the IENCAP (Competency Assessment Program)/OSCE. It is important to know what questions to ask; however, it is equally important to ask those questions in a clear and culturally appropriate manner. Members who have completed the OSCE all report the importance of good communication. Before confirming your OSCE appointment date consult with your case manager regarding your preparation.
  • Health Force Ontario offers frequent OSCE Preparation Sessions for Internationally Educated Nurses. These sessions include an overview of an OSCE, review of common questions and problems associated with an OSCE and practice with stems. Check the website for details regarding dates, locations, eligibility criteria and registration information:
  • Many Community Colleges will be offering OSCE preparation workshops. Check websites for details regarding dates, eligibility criteria and registration information.


What is the cost of the OSCE evaluation?

At this time, there is no charge to take the OSCE.

However, there is a $200 administrative fee that will be refunded after the College receives confirmation from Touchstone Institute of your completion of the OSCE evaluation.

Can I change my OSCE date?


Contact Touchstone Institute. All candidates changing their examination date will be charged an administration fee.  Please note all date change requests must be received at least 30 days prior to any scheduled exam. All exam date changes are contingent on availability.

What areas are assessed in the MCQ?

The IEN Objective Written Exam (MCQ) consists of questions based on five RN Entrance to Practice Competency Domains:

  • Professional Responsibility & Accountability
  • Specialized Body of Knowledge
  • Ethical Practice
  • Service to the Public
  • Professional Self-Regulation

What areas are assessed in the OSCE?

The blueprint for the OSCE is based on the National Competencies in the Context of Entry-Level Registered Nurse Practice. Skills and knowledge assessed may include:

  • History and Data Collection
  • Physical Examination
  • Communication Skills
  • Planning
  • Competent Professional Practice
  • Safe Practice
  • Ethical Practice
  • Collaboration
  • Evaluation

When will I get the results?

In approximately eight weeks, the College will receive the evaluation results. These results will determine whether the applicant has demonstrated entry-to-practice competencies in order to meet the program requirement.

What if I fail the OSCE?

Unsuccessful applicants with identified entry-to-practice competency gaps will be advised of additional training they will need to complete in order to meet the program requirement.

Who do I contact if I have any other questions about the OSCE?

Contact your CARE Centre case manager for questions regarding preparation for the OSCE.

For questions about the examination itself, including upcoming testing dates and directions to the testing centre, contact “Touchstone Institute (” at 416 924-8622 or email

Contact the College of Nurses of Ontario for questions about the registration process, including questions about how to appeal a decision requiring you to take the OSCE.


Lourdes VicenteByLourdes Vicente

2014 Conference for IENs Photo Gallery

Enjoy a selection of conference photos including the Welcoming Reception, Opening Remarks, Keynote Speech, Panel Discussions, Concurrent Presentations, the 2014 CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award presentations, our sponsor exhibitors, our donors, volunteers and our many delegates.

Click on the first image to start the slideshow!

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NCLEX update from the College of Nurses of Ontario

Information for applicants who have already passed the NCLEX-RN exam: On September 18, 2014, the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario passed a motion to accept successful NCLEX-RN exam writes from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 2014. If you are a current RN applicant who applied to the CNO before that date, and you can show the CNO you successfully wrote the NCLEX-RN within that timeframe, then you have met the examination requirement.

However, as for all RN candidates, their nursing program will be assessed to determine equivalency to a Canadian baccalaureate nursing program. Should the assessment indicate the applicant has unmet competencies they may be offered the opportunity to complete the IENCAP and may be required to take additional courses to meet the CNO “nursing education ” requirement.

If you are a CARE Centre member and have questions, contact your Case Manager. Review NCLEX information on the CNO website:

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CNO refers IEN applications to NNAS

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) joined 22 nursing regulatory bodies across Canada to launch the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). When NNAS’s Web portal went live on August 12, all internationally educated applicants to the CNO were directed to submit their applications and pay their initial assessment fees to NNAS within a secure online environment. A project nine years in the making, NNAS is the beginning of a national approach to the assessment of Registered Nurse and Registered Practical Nurse applicants who (a) completed their nursing education outside of Canada and (b) are not currently registered to practise as a nurse within Canada.

Benefits to applicants will include the ability to:

  • apply to multiple jurisdictions within Canada
  • send documents (e.g., education transcripts) to just one central location, regardless of how many jurisdictions an applicant applies to
  • track the status of their application online
  • access a toll-free customer care line with service in both English and French

Here are five key points to remember about NNAS and how it will work with the CNO to provide greater transparency and timeliness in its application processes:

  1. NNAS will not make decisions about an applicant’s eligibility for registration. The CNO and all other regulatory bodies involved with NNAS will continue to make the final decision on whether to accept or refuse an applicant’s request for registration.
  2. NNAS will conduct the initial review of an application. NNAS will function as the start of an applicant’s journey to registration by accepting the applicant’s initial application and assessing the documents (e.g., education transcripts, identity documents). NNAS will then create a report that the CNO will use along with other information to determine whether the applicant can proceed to the next steps in the registration process — steps the CNO will continue to administer. NNAS will apply only to those applicants who were educated outside of Canada and have never been registered as a nurse in Canada. Applicants who were educated at an approved nursing program in Canada or are currently registered as a nurse in another Canadian jurisdiction will continue to be assessed by the CNO under current registration processes.
  3. The registration requirements have not changed. Provincial legislation sets out the requirements that all applicants must meet before they can practise nursing in Ontario.
  4. NNAS only affects those who submit their applications after August 12. When NNAS is launched, all new applicants will be directed to the NNAS website to begin the application process. Applicants who apply to the CNO before August 12 will continue to be assessed by the College; they will not be asked to re-submit their applications to NNAS when its portal goes live.

The CNO is working to ensure all its systems and processes accommodate the transition to NNAS. This includes re-assessing application and registration fees to ensure the CNO continues its commitment to a revenue-neutral fee structure. The CNO is also communicating this change to the process through their website and direct communications with applicants. Further information about NNAS will be available at .