Many internationally educated nurses in Manitoba can now skip an exam that has been roundly condemned for being too difficult, but that won’t necessarily make them work faster in health care settings.
Starting today, the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba will offer internationally educated nurses the opportunity to forego the clinical skills assessment and enter directly into a one-year nurse re-entry program, a announced Thursday the Registrar.
The option is only available to nurses who have already completed their licensing exam, which the Registrar says makes up the majority of applicants.
However, prospective nurses who choose this path may not save time, as they must complete the entire nurse re-entry program at Red River College Polytechnic.
Clinical assessment, however, may determine that they only needed remedial education in certain areas, meaning they would only have to complete part of the nurse re-entry program.
Even still, the Registrar’s announcement could save applicants from an exam that many people are known to dread.
“We’ve certainly heard loud and clear from internationally educated nurse candidates that there is definitely some anxiety surrounding the assessment of clinical skills,” said Martin Lussier, communications manager for the Registrar.
The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba recently launched a survey which revealed that many applicants have a negative perception of the one-day clinical skills assessment, ultimately revealing that most nurses trained in the stranger will need some form of additional training.
Lussier added that some of those nurses delayed the clinical skills assessment to study or to raise money to pay for it — a cost of $2,400 for most people.
“For people who are hesitant or… [if] other factors may weigh on their ability to complete the application process, it may end up saving them time in the long run,” he said.
The regulatory college announcement comes as the healthcare system faces continued pressure to bring in more nurses, with reports of high vacancy rates, burnt-out nurses and mandatory overtime that accumulate.
Some people have turned to internationally educated nurses as a solution to some of these problems, but there have long been complaints that the licensing process is too complicated and causes people to quit.
The province has already taken some steps to address this issue, including creating a new nurse re-entry program starting this fall. It replaces a bridging program for internationally accredited nurses and a retraining program for nurses with a more flexible, self-directed option.
In July, Manitoba’s Minister of Health ordered the College of Registered Nurses to remove its requirement that foreign-trained nurses already licensed in other jurisdictions in Canada must undergo additional testing if they attempt to again to be accredited in Manitoba.
That same month, CBC reported that licensed practical nurses who are on the verge of being fully licensed in the province could soon work in Manitoba health care facilities under supervision.
Manitoba Nurses Union President Darlene Jackson welcomes the college’s announcement.
“We are always eager to hear about new ways to advance internationally educated nurses in the public system. With a new Chief overseeing operations at the College, we wish Deb Elias well and look forward to working together,” Jackson said, referring to the new registrar taking over from Katherine Stansfield, who retired this summer.
“For a small percentage of those trying to get into the system, this announcement is a doorway,” Jackson said, while encouraging the development of new ways to ease bureaucratic hurdles for people wishing to practice. nursing profession in the province.