Concurrent Sessions: October 29, 10:45-11:30 am

Internationally Educated Nurses’ (IENs) Assessment and Bridging: Newfoundland and Labrador’s Story

Ballroom A

English, Pillar 2-Assessment; Pillar 3-Bridging

Siobhainn Lewis, Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador; Denise English, Associate Director (Non-Degree Programs), Centre for Nursing Studies

Objective: To share how partnerships and planning provided a pathway for IEN registration and licensure through the development and piloting of competency based assessment (CBA) and bridging programs.


  • Health Canada
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)
  • Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL)
  • Centre for Nursing Studies (CNS), NL
  • Memorial University

Design and Methods: The development and piloting of a CBA process, the development and implementation of a Bridging Program that aligned with the competencies for entry-level registered nurse practice in NL.


  1. Present the number of IENs advised a CBA was required due to inclusive credentials, referred to the CNS for a CBA, who completed a CBA at the CNS, and who completed the full or partial Bridging Program offered through the CNS.
  2. To present the quantitative and qualitative data of the pilot delivery of the IEN Bridging Program.

Conclusions: In NL, the IEN project was viewed positively by key stakeholders.  A critical appraisal of policies, educational methods and best practices from a global context is needed to establish support networks for IENs to optimize their transition to practice.

Implications for Practice or Policy: IENs must meet registration and licensure eligibility as a Registered Nurse in NL, and practice safely, competently, compassionately and ethically in the Canadian context. Continuous ongoing support and education is necessary to ensure IENs integrate successfully into practice environments.

Future Directions: To maintain the pathway of successful integration of IENs into practice in NL. Research is warranted to evaluate the pilot project that currently exists to support IENs in NL. Research is also required to determine how employers orientate and mentor IENs in practice environments. Equally important is research that explores the strengths/challenges that IENs experience during their transition to nursing practice in NL and in Canada.

The Legacy of the Pathway... to Success!


English, Pillar 2-Assessment; Pillar 4-Workplace

Kelly McKnight, Nova Scotia Community College; Karen Sigouin; Ann Mann, College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia (CLPNNS)

The collaborative work of the Atlantic Connection from 2005-2010 built the partnerships which created the Pathway to Success Program. This presentation will provide an overview of the Pathway to Success. The Pathway is an award winning program that supports IENs to transition to the role of an LPN in NS. Most of our candidates have been educated as RNs in their country of origin and have limited understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an LPN in NS and/or Canada.  We have been funded by the NS Office of Immigration since 2009 to develop and deliver this Pathway which won national recognition in 2014 from the international Qualification Network for Innovation.  To date, this work is directly responsible for 125 IENs gaining licensure as LPNs in Nova Scotia. Our data states that 99% of these IENs are employed in NS.  Over the past 6 years, the Pathway team has built a legacy of success due in large part to a unique partnership between the LPN regulator (CLPNNS) and the provincial educator (NSCC). Come and hear our success stories!

The Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS) for Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists - An Exemplary Practice


English, Pillar 2-Assessment

Heather Cutcliffe,PEI Occupational Therapists Registration Board; Gayle Salsman, College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia; Kim Doyle, Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Therapy Board; Catherine Pente, New Brunswick Association of Occupational Therapists

We will take you on the journey of ten regulators, who through a federally funded project led by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulators (ACOTRO), were able to harmonize registration standards and processes to implement a consistent, fair, objective and transparent approach to the assessment of internationally educated occupational therapists (IEOTs).  You will learn about the various tools created and the activities put in place to implement this centrally run assessment process that determines whether the educational qualifications and competencies are "substantially equivalent" to those of a Canadian-educated occupational therapist. Prior to this project, there were significant differences in the way each provincial regulator assessed IEOT applications: for instance, regulators used different language proficiency standards, different external agencies assessing the academic credentials (each with their own set of standards and lenses) and had a different approach to assessing course work.  The new SEAS model, implemented May 1st  of this year, enhances public protection by ensuring that all registered occupational therapists, regardless of where they choose to work in Canada, are consistently assessed and that those who are deemed equivalent truly meet the minimum level of competencies for safe and ethical practice in Canada. One of the highlights for us as regulators is that the IEOT has the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and what they can do, a much better assessment than a simple pass/fail examination. The former Fairness Commissionaire in Ontario described the new system as an exemplary practice, you may want to join us to hear more details on why.

Nurses from the unknown worlds: Echoing their aspirations, frustrations, rejections, resilience, and expectations


English, Pillar 1-Prearrival; Pillar 2-Assessment; Pillar 3-Bridging; Pillar 4-Workplace; Pillar 5-Community

Damilola Iduye, Graduate Student Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax NS

As the Canadian nursing workforce continues to experience a nursing shortage, internationally educated nurses (IENs) have become an important addition to the nursing workforce in most provinces. However, Nova Scotia lacks the contextual understanding of the migration trends and the experiences of IENs as they pass through different stages of nursing registration. Anecdotal reports suggest that most IENs in Nova Scotia are successful in obtaining licences either as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or as a registered nurse (RN). Nevertheless, a gap still exists in understanding what their experiences are in completing their registration and in integrating into the workforce.

The purpose of this presentation is to share the stories of some IENs I interviewed for the Adult Theory course practicum in my first year of graduate studies at the Dalhousie School of Nursing. In addition, the peer support initiative, which I developed as an outcome for the practicum, will be shared at the conference. I will be sharing the stories of IENs who are at various stages of nursing registration using themes, such as their aspirations to migrate to Canada, frustrations in obtaining licence, resilience in overcoming obstacles, rejections and acceptance in the workplace, and their expectations of what needs to be done to facilitate their integration.

Presenting at this conference will provide the opportunity for networking with stakeholders from the four provinces in Atlantic Canada. It will also create a forum for dialogue with stakeholders to broaden their understanding of what IENs go through in obtaining nursing licences and in integrating into the workforce. Having such understanding will help stakeholders including the regulatory bodies, settlement organizations, professional development centres, provincial governments, employers, unit managers, and co-workers to tailor strategies and interventions that will better facilitate the integration of IENs into the provincial nursing workforce.