Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 2:47 PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 18, 2022 2:50 pm EDT
TORONTO – Ontario’s college of nursing is proposing to temporarily register internationally trained nurses, a move that could allow nearly 6,000 applicants to practice in the province’s hospitals amid a nursing staffing shortage that has caused wards to temporarily close. of emergency.
Health Minister Sylvia Jones recently directed the College of Nurses of Ontario to develop plans to more quickly register internationally educated professionals within two weeks.
The college provided its response to the ministry on Thursday, saying there are 5,970 active international applicants currently living in Ontario.
He says the college could make a regulation change, if supported by the minister, that would allow internationally trained nurses to register temporarily while they go through the full registration process, such as completing education and an exam.
The college proposes to allow applicants who have completed approved nursing education in another jurisdiction to register temporarily, and only revoke a temporary certificate after two unsuccessful examination attempts, rather than the one attempt they are currently allowed.
Temporary Registered Nurses must be supervised by a Registered Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or Nurse Practitioner.
“These changes to the Temporary Class will allow IEN (internationally educated nurse) applicants with educational gaps to register and practice as nurses under the terms, conditions and limitations for public protection while they complete the remaining requirements (i.e. education, examination) to register for the general class,” the college wrote to the minister.
“It also ensures that IEN applicants can maintain registration requirements they have already met, such as evidence of recent nursing practice.”
The university is also proposing to make it easier for some 5,300 non-practicing nurses living in Ontario to return to the workforce, if they choose. Current rules say a nurse must have practiced within the last three years to be reinstated, but the university says the regulation could be changed.
Jones on Thursday announced a plan to reduce surgical waiting lists, free up more hospital beds and add more health professionals, such as nurses, to stabilize the health system. One measure includes temporarily covering examination, application and registration fees for internationally trained nurses.
As well as proposing new steps the college itself could take to register more internationally trained nurses, it also calls on the government to do more to provide those nurses with the necessary education.
“Since the beginning of 2022, CNO has been raising awareness among system partners, including the Ministry of Health, that the lack of availability of adequate education for IEN applicants is a key barrier to their timely registration,” the president wrote. from the college council to the minister, together with the interim executive director and the executive director.
“This is still the case today. Collaboration and leadership from the ministry is needed to mobilize key stakeholders to coordinate the next steps towards establishing educational options for IENs.”
Jones had also asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to suggest ways to speed up the registrations of internationally educated doctors.
The college responded to the minister on Thursday, pushing for a practice-ready assessment program for international doctors in Ontario, noting that seven other provinces currently have one. The programs provide physicians with a path to licensure by having them work under supervision and be evaluated for 12 weeks.
The college also petitioned the government to increase the number of residency positions available for internationally trained doctors.
“Since IEPs only have access to a small number of residency positions, Ontario essentially limits the opportunity to rapidly grow our base of future physicians and support IEPs,” the university’s president, registrar and CEO wrote to Jones. .
“Taking immediate action now could create new opportunities by the summer of 2023, quickly injecting qualified IEPs into the system as trainees and creating a clear path to independent practice for this group.”
The college is also proposing a new three-month temporary registration in Ontario for physicians licensed in other provinces or territories. It also suggests making it easier for retired doctors to return to practice and reminding hospitals that they can hire international medical graduates waiting to register on a 30-day “short-term” leave when doctors are urgently needed.
The government did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether it would accept the colleges’ proposals.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 18, 2022.