In September 2010, I met my first CARE Centre case manager, Norma Tomlin, RPN. I took the nursing readiness assessment and it revealed gaps. I was advised on how to improve my nursing skills by taking specific courses to supplement my knowledge. Together we developed an action plan on how to achieve my licensure goals. I successfully passed the exam in October 2011 and met my second case manager, Loy Asheri, RN. I also started an RPN position in primary care at the Oshawa Community Health Centre. I received the results of my RN assessment from the College of Nurses of Ontario indicating that my initial education was not enough. With Loy’s support, I pursued the bridging program at George Brown College and York University, completing the program with a Summa Cum Laude distinction in October 2015. I received my RN designation in January 2016 and gained an RN position at Halton Healthcare in Oakville under the Nursing Career OrIENtation program. CARE Centre keeps me constantly updated on upcoming workshops and videoconferences which promote continuing competence on my part!
With my whole life reduced to two suitcases, I came to Canada in 2012. Since then, CARE Centre has provided me with the proper training, job search and interview skills, professional networking opportunities, and instructions toward registration. I love how CARE specifically creates and customizes programs that cater to the unique needs of their IEN members. Because of their guidance, I was able to take on Toronto’s competitive job market and achieve my goals with flying colours. Shortly after graduating Summa cum Laude and Valedictorian of York University’s BScN for IENs Class of 2015, I was employed as a full-time ICU RN at North America’s first fully digital hospital, Humber River Hospital – Wilson site. An IEN could not ask for anything more! I thank CARE Centre for being part of my journey since day one. I hope they continue to support and inspire more nurses to reach for their dreams!
It is hard to believe that it was years ago when I moved to this land not knowing much about it, and now I know Canada is the land of peace and freedom, where people park their car in the driveway and drive their car on the parkway. Coming alone to Canada, leaving my husband behind, didn’t give me much time between work and family to take any courses. Finally, with the great support and encouragement of my case manager and every one at CARE Centre, I completed the program and received my RN License. I know my journey has just begun; I can’t wait to get into action!
In the summer of 2005, inspired to start a new life in Canada, I made the decision to emigrate from my home to this beautiful and culturally diverse country. I felt very frustrated, because so many IENs like me were manipulated by private exam prep companies, wasting so much time and money, and were still totally unprepared for the CRNE. I found information about CARE Centre and the next day I contacted them. They invited me to meet with a case manager to see how they could help. Before meeting my case manager, I was feeling lost and insecure about my future in Canada. She listened to my personal story, asking me questions regarding my career plans. She was very client-focused, and had the gift of always making me feel surrounded in a warm and encouraging atmosphere. She gave me a brief introduction on what type of support CARE Centre could provide and gave recommendations on how to achieve my goals. I felt “Finally I’m in good hands!” CARE Centre was genuinely interested in my success and was ready to support me all the way through to meaningful employment.
The reason I wanted to become a nurse was because I like to help people. I was brought up by my grandmother in Serbia so I was a caregiver to her as well. When I decided to come to Canada and apply to be a nurse, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but it happened to be a huge deal. It’s really two different worlds. When I came I was quite isolated. Then I joined CARE Centre and I passed the RPN exam in February, 2010. My first job in Canada was at Revera as a staff nurse, then I was hired at CARE Centre as a Case Manager. I was very personal with my clients at CARE Centre. It was never just a job. I shared my story with every client to motivate them to continue their struggle. In September, 2011 I came to Chartwell. We’re really lacking RPNs in the long-term care sector, they have so many critical clinical skills that we need. I was lucky to get this job. It’s hard for IENs to get a staff job, let alone in management. CARE Centre opened those doors for me. And now I can hire PSWs and RPNs who were nurses back home – if they’re not CARE Centre members I tell them to join!
When my wife and I decided to move to Canada, it was both exciting and scary adapting to new social norms and creating a new network of friends. Returning to nursing school to become registered to practice in Ontario involved many sacrifices. It’s expensive and time consuming. I worked evenings as a personal support worker in order to survive. I started with CARE Centre in 2006. CARE offered financial guidance, nursing readiness assessment, bridging courses, exam preparation and job shadowing. Thank you so much CARE! Now 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.
As a single mother of four young children, coming to a foreign country was a big challenge financially, psychologically, socially and emotionally. On top of that I had to face all the frustrations and uncertainties which came with the licensing process. My story changed, however, when I joined CARE Centre. CARE Centre conducted a nursing readiness assessment which turnout out to be an important tool in reminding me that I already had knowledge, skills and experience in the field of nursing. I will always be grateful to CARE Centre for restoring and rewriting the pages of my nursing history by giving me confidence and a learning platform. With CARE Centre’s help I now have a job I love at Sunnybrook Hospital as an RN in the Cardiac ICU.I also mentor fellow IENs as a case manager with CARE Centre. I have a daughter finishing medical school, with the rest of my children pursuing other studies. As the inaugural winner of the CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award, I know the award also celebrates immigrant success in Canada.
CARE Centre helped me a lot in terms of guidance, support and most of all building up my confidence as an IEN here in Canada. When I was not yet a member of CARE I felt very alone in chasing my nursing career. I was so confused where to go or whom to ask since I was new to the environment. Fortunately, when I joined CARE all my questions were answered. My case manager encouraged me to participate in programs like Observational Job Shadowing to gain experience, update my nursing knowledge and make my résumé more interesting. These experiences let me say to myself “I can do this!” While waiting for job interviews, I did mock interviews with CARE to prepare myself for a real job interview and again it helped me a lot by knowing how to answer frequently asked questions in a nursing job interview.
For IENs, one of the biggest barriers we have when we come to Canada is obviously the language. I have been very lucky and blessed because I have been a member of CARE Centre since 2012. They gave me orientation and showed me different options and today I am part of the workforce in Ontario as a registered nurse. I want to continue growing as a professional and I know CARE Centre will be there again to support me to continue with my goals. Because their job is not done when IENs get their registration; they continue to support the IEN journey with more practice and growth. As nurses, I think it’s our responsibility to continue learning and to try to give our best to everybody.
I came to Canada in May, 2010. I wanted to come for the stability and safety, the financial opportunities. It’s a better, more peaceful country to live in. I love snow – at least I did in the beginning! In India, nurses don’t get the kind of respect they deserve for all the work they do. My wife and I knew no one in Canada when we moved. We had to do everything ourselves. People ask for experience, for references, how can a newcomer give these? CARE Centre gives you moral support; you really feel they have your back. If you have questions, they have answers. They can direct you in the appropriate manner. CARE Centre’s experienced professionals have so much knowledge. The clinical workshops really help. We’re all nurses, but practice can be quite different. Nursing is my passion. This is what I want to do.