Friday, April 26, 2013

Oh! For a chance to nurse the nation

Some of my younger GNIE classmates (Graduate Nurse, Internationally Educated Nursing Re-entry programme) are discouraged due to a lack of progress in their job search. One wrote that he has given up applying.

We completed our nursing re-entry training in Dec-2012. We met the requirements for CRNBC full practicing registration in Mar-2013. [Click here and here for details.] Some started applying for Registered Nurse jobs once we were granted Provisional Registration. Some, like me, waited until getting the Full Practicing Licence.

At times like this, I think it helps to take a look at the bigger picture. We aren't the only ones who face challenges finding a job in B.C., especially in the Lower Mainland. See the poster below for an example. 

[25-Apr-2013: Poster at Metrotown Skytrain Station
urging local businesses to employ youths and
offering a $2,800 hiring incentive.]
[Aside: That's why when another classmate asked me if I was "into politics" some time ago; I replied, "No, I am not into politics per se. It is a tool, a means to an end." IMHO, politics affect so many areas of our lives that we cannot afford to ignore it. E.g. Healthcare funding -- the amount allocated, the distribution of resources, the policies/projects implemented to support access to healthcare, etc -- directly and indirectly affect our individual employment opportunity. "Up-stream thinking" is important.]
At a personal level, I think it helps to think back to why we chose nursing as a profession. Does the reason still ring true? Below is a touching poem by Molly Case -- a nursing student presenting at the 2013 Royal College of Nursing Congress (i.e. UK nursing congress) -- in response to the UK media's onslaught of criticism of the NHS (National Healthcare System).

Nursing the nation - by Molly Case

As for myself, I am taking my time in my job search, so as not to stress myself unduly. I am lucky, unlike the first time I entered the work-world decades ago, I now have the luxury of some financial leeway to prepare myself for more/wider job opportunities. My current focus is to convert my Singapore driving licence into a Canadian one so that I may opt to serve the remote (underserved) regions. Along the way, I am also learning basic French, building my professional network, occasionally revising my nursing knowledge, and volunteering (to keep my spirit upbeat).

I hope that things will work out for all of us. Wish us luck!


  1. It is sad and frustrating to learn that trained nurses such as you and your friends are encountering difficulties securing suitable employment. Yet, Canadian hospitals lament the shortage of nursing staff. What is wrong with this country?!!

    Increasingly, my patience with Canada and BC province in particular, is wearing thin. There is a paucity of meaningful employment opportunities available here for graduates, including those with engineering and biotech backgrounds. Perhaps it is time to relocate to Ontario with its higher tax regimes and harsher weather. Or maybe, exit this country altogether.

    1. Hi Anonymous on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 2:04:00 AM,

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

      > Yet, Canadian hospitals lament the shortage of nursing staff.

      As I've mentioned in my "aside" paragraph on "upstream thinking", I suspect the problem is due to the healthcare funding -- the amount and the allocation of resources.

      > There is a paucity of meaningful employment opportunities available here for graduates, including those with engineering and biotech backgrounds.

      With the BC elections to be held next month, it is perhaps a good time to press these issues to the politicians bidding for your vote. Ask them how they plan to deal with these issues. Consider carefully who may/will truly deliver on their election promises.

      > Or maybe, exit this country altogether.

      The grass is often greener on the other side -- one has to experience it firsthand to know if it is indeed true for oneself. Speaking as an immigrant myself, despite my current less-than-ideal situation, BC Canada is "heaven" for me compared to Singapore.

      At least in BC (and/or Canada) issues can be raised and discussed, existing rules/blocks challenged, and the relevant authorities would respond professionally.

      Compare this to the ridiculous accusations (hurled at me by "friends") that anyone who questions the status quo is a dissident, anti-government, anti-Singapore and/or a traitor out to cause the country to collapse.

      If one has not experienced repression, it may be harder to appreciate the value of freedom that Canada offers. With freedom, comes hope. With hope, comes ownership of one's life choices -- including civic participation and a sense of ownership for the direction that one's municipal, province and country is heading. Even if one does not like its current directions, one can petition for change without fear in Canada.

      At the end of the day, I stand in a unique situation of being an immigrant from a country that hosts a much larger percentage of immigrants/foreigners (38% of Singapore's population are permanent residents or temporary foreigners). As such, I know the pros-and-cons of migration (from both sides). Thus I will not demand that Canada provides me "gainful" employment. I only seek to become whatever Canada needs/wants so as to re-build my life in Canada.

      Cheers, WD.