#RealTalk: The Truth About the Nursing Job Market
Are you a Nurse? Are you planning to move to Canada? If you answered yes to both questions, then you must read on.
Ashley St. Vincent is a nurse and she opens up about her experience of being a nurse from a home country and moving to Canada. Like any other professional, she wanted to be able to practice her profession in Canada. Read her story below.
Today marks 10 years that I graduated with my Baccalaureate degree in Nursing. It’s very bitter sweet. While I have been very blessed to work with amazing doctors, nurses, techs, therapists, etc. in various settings, I now live in a country that refuses to acknowledge my education or experience and will not grant me a nursing licence to practice. Let me tell you a little about myself and my situation…
I am Ashley St. Vincent and I was recently refused a nursing license in Manitoba, Canada. I graduated December 17, 2006, with a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Northwestern State University (Shreveport, LA, USA). I wrote the NCLEX (the nursing board exam in Canada and the US) and passed it on my first attempt. I practiced for 6 years as a Circulator RN in the operating room and 2 years as a Labor & Delivery RN. I have been licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
I moved to Ste. Anne, Manitoba, Canada (my husband’s hometown) October 4, 2013. During the transition of moving and the process of immigration, I decided to take a break from nursing and stay home with my two young daughters. I eventually obtained my permanent residency and my daughters are now dual citizens. October 8, 2015, I began the process of obtaining my nursing license in Manitoba. The first step was to apply through the NNAS ($650US/$867cdn). NNAS is an agency that verifies documents such as my transcripts, immigration documentation, etc. I received the report from NNAS in May 2016. Afterwards, I applied to the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM) ($525cdn). I was then directed to complete a CCA & OSCE ($2,200cdn). In Aug 2016, I wrote 5 exams consisting of over 125 questions each. (I should note here that I passed all 5 exams.) During the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination), I was instructed to perform/act as a nurse in a setting with a patient and scenario. I went through each step of the process to the best of my ability. After 6 weeks of waiting, I received my results which indicated that my gaps in knowledge were too significant to be corrected with a bridging program. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I completed a bachelors degree program from a highly accredited college, practiced for 8 years and was given a patient and scenario that I was unfamiliar with. No one took into consideration my background as a registered nurse in the operating room or the labor and delivery unit. I feel that I was set up to fail. The CCA and OSCE are meant to test an internationally trained nurse on the principles that a newly graduated nurse would know. But I’m not a new graduate. I am bringing over 8 years of practice to the table.
Now I have been instructed that I need to retake an entire Bachelors in Nursing degree program if I ever want to practice as a Registered Nurse here in Canada. This is ridiculous and redundant to (re)complete a program that I have already completed. I would be completely open to completing any refresher or bridging programs.
For a Canadian trained nurse to practice in the US, as long as they have written and passed the NCLEX, they can apply via endorsement and obtain a nursing license. Why is it not the same vice versa? I have graduated with a degree. I have written and passed the NCLEX. I have practiced as an RN. I am a competent nurse who is ready and willing to work in a country that is desperate for nurses.
My main objective is to raise awareness for the push towards reciprocity between Canada and the US regarding RNs that have already written and passed the NCLEX. These RNs should be able to apply for licensure by endorsement and receive their license. Once they secure employment, the RN will be given a 3 month probation period where their competencies and skills are assessed.
All I ask is that you share this. Share it with everyone you know so that my story gets out. Help this go viral so that everyone knows how this has unfolded and how I have been refused a nursing license.
Time and effort, not to mention money, are involved when you pursue a profession. Most of the time, nurses are urged by their passion to help people. It would only be fair that when they go through the proper process and they possess the valid credentials and experience, they should be able obtain a nursing license anywhere.
Awareness is the first step to change. We hope you help spread this story and let us know what you think.