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Breaking down barriers for internationally trained nurses

May 10, 2007 -- For Liandi Zhang, a Nurse Clinician on 17 North at Mount Sinai Hospital, having access to educational workshops equipped her with job-ready skills as a foreign-trained nurse.

  International Nurses
  Nurse Clinician Liandi Zhang (left) and Leslie Vincent, Senior Vice-President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive

Liandi’s participation in the Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (CARE) Project helped her bridge her previous education and training in China and prepare her both professionally and personally.

“Today, I am very proud to be a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital because the culture here really embraces learning, innovation and values diversity,” Liandi said during a special announcement hosted by Mount Sinai Hospital on Thursday during National Nursing Week.

Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle was on hand to announce more than $2.9 million in bridge financing to help other internationally educated nurses like Liandi transition to providing care in the Ontario health-care system.

The announcement included more than $2 million for CARE and an additional $800,000 for York University to create and pilot test assessment tools, measures and policies to ensure a fairer registration process and evaluation of international equivalency for foreign-trained nurses.

It was part of an effort by the Province and its health-care partners to break down barriers for foreign-trained nurses and improve access to jobs in their field.

“Ontario attracts talented nurses from around the world,” said Minister Colle. “These innovative programs will provide the training, support and experience they need to work in their field of expertise sooner.”

Minister Colle said the funding will provide for a hub of resources, including exam preparation, counseling, feedback, clinical workplace experience and language upgrades as well as expansion of the CARE project.

“The CARE Project was a critical bridge, enabling me to cross the gaps between my previous education and work experience in China, and the standards and practices of nursing in Canada,” said Liandi.

With more than 1,100 nurses on staff, Mount Sinai truly has nursing expertise from around the world and “is in a class with the best institutions anywhere on this planet,” said Minister Colle.

Leslie Vincent, Senior Vice-President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive, said these partnerships help international nurses integrate and provides our hospital with the opportunity to meet and recruit highly skilled — and valued — nurses.

“Part of our success includes having diverse teams of nurses, physicians and clinicians from many backgrounds who work together to provide patient and family-centred care,” said Vincent.

“Mount Sinai is committed to retaining and attracting the brightest minds and biggest hearts in the field, including skilled newcomers and new graduates, and to provide the supports they need to thrive so our patients can benefit.”

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