London prides itself on the range of opportunities it provides New Canadians as the sixth largest city in Ontario, with easy access to rural communities in Middlesex County, three Great Lakes and the United States just across the border. The city publishes a website under the name “Point, Click, Immigrate”, proclaiming it’s openness to newcomers, which comprise 22 percent of the population according to 2006 statistics. In 2008 CARE Centre began offering services in London, first on the premises of Fanshawe College, CARE’s partner educational organization, and now in office space at Access to Community Employment Services at 171 Queens Avenue in downtown London. Case Manager Anna Wilson, who also works with IENs in a large catchment area stretching to Windsor, has seen the profile of IENs grow substantially in the community.
“More IENs are moving from the Toronto and Mississauga area to London because of word of mouth advertising from London CARE Centre members,” Wilson notes. “There has been an increase in families originating from India, Colombia, the Philippines, the Middle East and Asia settling here, often because they know someone who is living in London. The web site immigration.london.ca/default.htm provides links to immigrant services, and IENs have the support of the Access Centre if they have not applied to the CNO. London Cross Cultural Learning Centre provides additional services, especially surrounding language. London Health Science Centre was the first to set up a committee to make integration more positive for IENs, both at the hospital and in the community. And McGarrell Place and other long-term care facilities and community agencies are working to help IENs transition to nursing in their field.”
CARE Centre now has over 100 members in London and area, and was proud to host a ceremony in early 2011 celebrating the first 25 members to achieve registration, attended by the Minister of Health and Long-term Care, Deb Mathews, and other prominent politicians. Valedictorian speaker Raymonde Degbey (featured in the On the Job section of this issue of the IEN Connector) stated that “the sky is the limit” after achieving her RN, and was interviewed by the local TV station (view clip here). More recently the CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award was presented to local member Ismail El Assaad at his London Health Science’s Centre’s University Hospital workplace (view clip here).
Wilson had retired as a nursing instructor when she started with CARE Centre and found a special affinity for bridge training. “I love working with our clients. It has been a mutual learning process. They bring so many gifts and abilities to nursing and are capable of contributing to and enhancing nursing care within our own health care system. They are so motivated and dedicated to nursing and are keen to do whatever it takes to get back into the profession.”