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MSNBC: International Nurses Help Close Health Care Gap in Canada’s Rural Areas

August 08, 2012

International Nurses Help Close Health Care Gap in Canada’s Rural Areas

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Experienced international nurses looking to find work in Canada may have better luck in remote areas. Registered nurse staffing specialists say finding qualified nurses to work in the country’s small towns is an increasing challenge as baby boomers, who currently dominate the nurse workforce, near retirement.

“The most open opportunities for immigrant and international nurses are in the most rural parts of Canada,” said Melane Mullings, senior recruitment specialist with pRN Staffing Solutions, a Canadian-based RN recruitment firm. “Internationally-educated nurses who take a course and pass their Canadian Registered Nurse Exam are likely to land a job in their field if they are willing to relocate to remote areas.”

Despite the national nurse shortage, recent regulatory changes have made it more difficult for experienced internationally-educated nurses to get their certifications in Canada. According to a Canadian Nurses Association study, Canada is short nearly 78,000 certified nurses. The study also predicts, by 2016, Canada will be short more than 116,000 RNs if they don’t find a way to fill the demand.

Ron Burke, founder of OMNI College, a school in Vancouver, B.C., which specializes in training immigrant and international nurses for the Canadian workforce, said internationally-educated nurses are willing to invest in proper training to pass the rigid exams as Canada’s working conditions are often superior to where they come from.

“Universities locally are not producing enough nurses to fill the growing demand for nurses in Canada,” said Burke. “Canada has an abundance of skilled immigrants and there are many international nurses who want to come here to contribute positively to society. It would be a shame not to maximize this resource as demand increases.”

With recent reports of Canadian hospitals being used in scams to solicit money from international nurses in exchange for quick access to work in the country’s health care field, Burke stressed there are no shortcuts.

“Experienced internationally-educated nurses who attend a reputable training school in Canada are much more likely to pass the CRNE and secure RN employment in Canada,” said Mullings.

OMNI College specializes in health care programs that prepare foreign-trained health care professionals for work in Canada. The College is an accredited, private post-secondary education institution located in Richmond, a bustling suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Visit

© Marketwire 2012