One of the first government-funded bridge training programs for Ontario’s newcomer health professionals, CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses is celebrating 20 years of success in 2021.
Originally called CARE, the organization’s name came from its goal: Creating Access to Regulated Employment. A grassroots group of community advocates founded this body in 2001 seeing Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) struggle to pass their nursing registration and take other jobs or survival work, some never returning to nursing.
How does CARE Centre support internationally educated nurses?
The organization provides IENs with one-on-one case management, language and communication skills, exam preparation, professional development, mentoring, and networking to be successful in the nursing profession.
“Our family of clients has now grown to more than 5,000 IENs from over 100 countries,” says executive director Dr. Ruth Lee. “Some of our case managers and workshop facilitators are graduates of our program. They are licensed nurses, but they want to give back to the next generations of IENs,” Lee adds.
CARE Centre has been funded by the Government of Ontario for 20 years, and five years ago, obtained funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to provide Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) through online programming and virtual case management.
PASS serves IENs accepted for immigration to Canada from around the world. Since 2016, more than 1,000 IENs from more than 60 countries have accessed this program.
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CARE Centre is offering services online during the COVID-19 pandemic
The organization’s case management, workshops, and other programming, which were originally offered from locations across Ontario and online to remote areas, have transitioned online during the pandemic. “This has actually moved us ahead in our strategic plan to maximize digital opportunities for wider outreach and service delivery to IENs,” says Lee. Technology has made it possible for CARE Centre to present a series of topical webinars in this anniversary year and organize virtual events in September.
As the organization continues to make efforts to guide and support nurses into practice, Lee gives a shout-out to IENs and Canadian-educated nurses for their dedication and extraordinary service during the pandemic. “They have been the true heroes throughout these challenging times.”
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