Integrating Internationally Educated Nurses into a New Healthcare Culture

Tuesday, 8 July 2008: 9:10 AM
Maxine Mott, RN, BN, MEd, PhD , Community & Health Studies, Kwantlen University College, Surrey, BC, Canada

Learning Objective 1: Develop a deeper awareness of challenges facing professional nurses when they migrate to a new country.

Learning Objective 2: Gain knowledge of a successful strategy to support the integration internationally educated nurses into a new health care delivery culture.

Health human resources have taken on an international sense of urgency in recent years as many nations are experiencing a severe shortage of health professionals. Professional nurses are especially in demand in most developing and developed countries. In response to this shortage, a variety of recruiting and competency assessment techniques have evolved to promote the migration of nurses to areas where there are high staff nurse vacancies. Many of these strategies have been effective in mobilizing the nursing workforce at an international level. The migrant nurse's journey to new countries is not without challenges, for example, language barriers, cultural differences, economic issues, isolation from family, and often the requirement of new or expanded professional knowledge and skills. Many employers have been proactive and established various programs for supporting the Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN).

What has not kept pace with the increase in nurse migration is the development of professional education programs that support nurse educators (clinical and academic) working with IENs. This presentation will discuss the outcomes of a research project that looked at what supports were in place for Canadian nurse educators working with IENs. Based on data gathered through a national survey, a series of professional development modules were created that address many of the issues these educators face. Module topics include cultural awareness, assessing clinical knowledge and skills, language challenges, and orientating IENs to a new health delivery system. A pilot testing of the modules provides evidence to support the effectiveness of this program.