Considerable literature exists on the immigration of internationally educated nurses (IENs) in other countries, but little information exists to guide the development and implementation of policies that promote the safe integration of IENs in Canada. The objective of this study was to gain a better understanding of the employment practices of IENs in Canada and their experiences with integration into healthcare work environments within the context of quality patient care.
A comparative research design of a random sample of IENs and Canadian-educated nurses (CENs) was conducted. The survey gathered information on professional/demographic characteristics, employment, job experiences, workplace integration and measures of patient care quality provided by both groups of nurses. The sample was comprised of 2,107 IENs (RR= 42%) and 1,172 CENs (RR =40%).
Considerable differences were noted between the groups on work experiences and perceptions of work. IENs had statistically significantly higher perceptions of satisfaction with nursing as a career and their current job, quality of care provided, amount of orientation and ongoing opportunities provided for updating their skills. In addition IENs identified concern with being unable to complete their work by shift end and had significant concern that the job was negatively affecting their health.
This study provides the first information on experiences in hiring and employing IENs; strategies used to integrate IENs into the work environment; and perceptions of IEN competencies, contributions to the work environment, and quality of care in the Canadian context. The study uncovered new information on IENs integration into work settings.
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