Friday, July 26, 2013

GNIE: RN job search - Update 6

Here's a quick update. Of our cohort of 29 GNIE graduates who passed the CRNE (i.e. eligible for full practicing licence with the CRNBC):
  • 23 (or 79%) have found Registered Nurse jobs,
  • 2 (or 7%) are not actively searching for job, and
  • 4 (or 14%) either I do not have information or they are still actively searching.
For other details, please refer to my previous update.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Drunkard's target is not the wine[醉翁之意不在酒]

I came across a piece "Confessions of an ex-HDB Officer" by a TRS contributor CJ. I am not going to comment on his confessions, but rather the (possibly troll) responses that are rather interesting and (IMHO) reflective of a typical Singaporean mindset. [Note: Italics and bold mine, for emphasis.]
For example, Alan Tay, Professional Tree Hugger at Tree Lovers, posted on July 3, 2013 at 7:27pm [with 2 Like's]:
CJ was out HDB because he was sacked? Otherwise, CJ is so noble to resign and take a pay cut of 50%. How many years did he work in HDB? I smell bulls***
For example, Ron Koo, who "Works at SLNG Terminal Project @ Meranti Cresent, Jurong Island", posted on July 4, 2013 at 7:09am [with 1 Like]:
the story is very doubtful as the writer said he left HDB for a 50% pay cut. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, or rather, once fed you with a fat rolex.
Let me start-off by stating that I do not know CJ personally. In fact, I only read TRS occasionally, but something about his later article "The People Vs HDB. In the matter of public interest." which showed up on another blogger's blogs-of-interest caught my eye. Then I followed-up on his preceding article and chanced upon the above comments.

The comments, as I've mentioned above, (IMHO) reflects a typical Singaporean mindset. A mindset which sees the path to success as a rigid straight line, from A to B. A mindset that finds it hard to imagine that there exists people who will wilfully take "The Road Not Taken".
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1874-1963). 
Mountain Interval. 1920.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;       5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,       10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.       15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.       20
I shall repeat myself -- I do not know CJ personally. I have no reason to doubt or believe his story. That said, I know it is possible to walk away from a job/career and to take another that pays 50% or less. I have done so myself. In fact, I have tried 3 attempts -- only to finally succeed on my 3rd attempt.

[1997 Job offer from NCB]
[Note: The above job offer was neither my highest nor lowest pay in my 10+ years spent in my first career. It just serves to illustrate that there are people (your truly for example) who will wilfully walk away from a job/career and move on to one that pays 50% or less of one's previous salary. "The starting basic salary for Registered Nurses is approximately $1,800." according to the WDA Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses webpage as at 22-Jul-2013.]
IMHO, what the commenters above probably do not understand is the Chinese saying, 醉翁之意不在酒”。["The drunkard's target is not the wine."] Look at the long-term. And as Robert Frost wrote, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."


p.s. For those who wonder:

It took me many years, but I am on-track for a return to my previous salary levels. The major/critical point is that I am in a different career, in a different country -- one with proper labour protection and a good social support system (which I willingly pay tax for). I no longer have to deal with stressors like:
For those who want the numbers as proof: BCNU's (B.C. Nurses Union) pay-scale for newly graduated Registered Nurse start at CAD31.71/hour as of April 2013. The typical full-time RN works 1700 hours/year or more.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How to become a Live-in Caregiver

[DECLARATION and DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion. I am not and have never been a Live-in Caregiver; nor am I in any way qualified to give advice on the matter. Thus any content from me shall be construed as a sharing of personal opinion, not advice. I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided by me. Under no circumstances will I or anyone related to this content be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from any reliance on the information or other content posted or linked by me.]

In an earlier post "IEN dreams of migrating to Vancouver" I wrote:
I have met other IENs whose ultimate goal was to obtain Canadian residency/citizenship status. A few did it by the long, slow, arduous route of first becoming a live-in caregiver, spend a couple of years to get their Canadian residency status approved while planning their return to nursing. The con is that they lose their skills during the long process, but the pro is that it is a stable route for those with limited finances and are willing take a long-haul view.
Yesterday, an IEN asked me how to find a "live-in caregiver" job. There's Professor Google to the rescue. 
  • Google for "craigslist live in caregiver vancouver" turns up the following link (amongst others)
  • Google for "live in caregiver vancouver" turns up links to and (amongst others)
As usual, I suggest that readers take time to find out for themselves about policies governing the employment of Live-in Caregivers. Do not rely on hearsay, check out the official information which are available from various government-related websites online. [Note: Click here for an old blog post with some of these links.]

In addition, I believe it would be useful to get the following certifications make your application stronger.
Hope the above will be useful for those aspiring Canadians-to-be with a limited budget.


p.s. I know that major "maid-for-export" countries, such as the Philippines, have job agents that can help the aspiring immigrant secure such jobs even before leaving their respective countries of origin. However, the job applicants should always bear in mind that there may be differences in employment laws between Canada and their respective country of origin. Be aware of your employment rights as a Live-in Caregiver, be wary of unscrupulous job agents, do not be conned/intimated into becoming a victim.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

GNIE: RN job search - Update 5

Since my previous update on May 24th 2013, today's status based on the grapevine is as follow: Of our cohort of 29 GNIE graduates who passed the CRNE (i.e. eligible for full practicing licence with the CRNBC), 20 (or 69%) have found Registered Nurse jobs.

Most of us hold several jobs - a mix of casual and other positions. We are distributed amongst the following:
  • Private hospital acute care (mostly elective-surgery related) - Regular full-time and casual positions
  • Public hospital acute care - Casual positions. There are about a handful of us with these positions now.
  • Residential care - Temporary full-time and casual positions
  • Home nursing - Permanent part-time and casual positions
  • Agency nurse (sent to acute, residential, home, etc positions) - Casual positions
  • Education (e.g. clinical instructors for Care Aides) - Casual position
  • The above data is amongst those that we know/hear from.
  • Of those who have yet to find a job, 3 have just passed the June 2013 CRNE.
  • There are a few who are not actively looking for RN jobs due to various personal reasons.

GNIE: CRNE Results - 2nd cut

[Contents updated on 15-Jul-2013 at 21:10hr.]

As I've reported previously, 26/30 in my GNIE cohort passed their 1st attempt at the CRNE in Feb-2013. 4 failed and 3 did not sit for the Feb-2013 exam for various reasons.

Below is an update. I've heard from 6 of the above 7 who sat for the June 2013 CRNE. There is still one person who has not attempted the CRNE at all.
  • Amongst the 4 2nd timers, 3 passed, 1 failed.
  • Amongst the 2 1st timers, both failed.
End of report for those interested in statistical trends.


[Addendum on 20-Jul-2013]

All the 3 2nd timers who passed had really close to passing score (550), i.e. above 500, at their first attempt.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Privatized healthcare vs universal access

While chatting with my boyfriend DD today, he mentioned that one of the factors (amongst several) of his decision to return to Canada was the way healthcare system works in USA (pre-Obamacare). [Note: USA was a country with better job prospects in his industry compared to Canada at the time of his relocation.]

I shared with DD that, IMHO, the Singapore healthcare system is even more "right-wing" than USA's. E.g. A couple, who despite having bought insurance for their child and both holding well-paid professional jobs, going into credit card debts to pay for healthcare for their child with congenital issues. E.g. An elderly childless-woman who was told to sell the remaining lease of her 3-room HDB apartment (leaving her with no home of her own and having to live under her niece's equally small HDB) before she could apply for Medifund funding for her repeated acute hospital care.

As I am currently working in paediatric home health nursing in B.C., Canada, I can see the difference in the kind of support (from the provincial government) given to parents with children who lucked out on rare, chronic or deadly illnesses. In addition, Uncle Wing's (bless his soul) own experience is testimony to how the B.C. healthcare system takes care of its seriously ill elderly. [Click here to see my year-2009 blog entry about BC nurses petition against healthcare underfunding and Singapore's privatization of healthcare.] While I do not deny that Canada's system has its weaknesses, I feel that it caters well to “不怕一万,只怕万一。” ["Not afraid of the common scenarios (that one can plan for), but fear the exceptional scenarios."] After all, how many of us would choose (for the sake of maximizing our usage of universal healthcare): 
  • to be involved in major road traffic accidents (and thus requiring extended intensive care and probably repeated restorative surgery and extended rehabilitation); or
  • to have children with rare, chronic and/or deadly illnesses; or 
  • to have elderly parents with chronic, debilitating and/or incurable illnesses?
Yet there will always be Singaporeans who would defend that the Singapore healthcare system is better (e.g. more efficient and/or more cost-effective, or more equitable because specific-user-pays instead of risk-sharing) than Canada's, Australia's, UK's, etc. [Just check out the comments on those blog posts.] I hope that these "loyal", "patriotic", defensive Singaporeans will never have to encounter any major/repeated healthcare issues personally and/or amongst their loved ones.

Another issue I have with the way private healthcare works in Singapore is that until recently (see below), there was little control on the runaway costs/mark-ups in private healthcare. Note: I have met a significant number of private specialists who would waive/discount their fees to help the "needy" patients, thus it would not be fair to tarnish all kind-hearted doctors because of one black sheep. Nevertheless, IMHO, it is human nature to compete to be the better paid specialist. After all, it is so very much in Singapore's culture to judge people by the size of their income.


Dr Susan Lim loses appeal against SMC's guilty verdict
Published on Jul 01, 2013 1:39 PM

By Selina Lum And Kc Vijayan

The highest court in Singapore on Monday dismissed an appeal by general surgeon Susan Lim against her conviction on charges of professional misconduct over the amount she charged a patient from the royal family of Brunei.

In a 109-page written judgment, the three-judge Court of Appeal said Dr Lim's case was "clearly one of the most serious cases - if not the most serious case so far - of overcharging in the medical profession in the local context". The court dismissed her claims that she was justified and there was no ethical obligation to charge a fair and reasonable amount and pointed out her approach showed she had shown no remorse.

In the judgment, the court ruled there is an objective ethical limit on medical fees that operates outside contractual and market forces, The court found that, given a doctor's specialised knowledge and training, there arises an ethical obligation on the part of a doctor not to take advantage of his patient. And this ethical obligation to charge a fair and reasonable fee is not superseded by a valid agreement between the doctor and his patient, the court held.

In 2012, Dr Lim was found guilty of 94 charges of professional misconduct by a Singapore Medical Council (SMC) disciplinary committee for charging about $24 million for the services provided to Pengiran Anak Hajah Damit Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Mohd Alam for 110 treatment days from January to June 2007. Dr Lim was then given a three-year suspension and fined $10,000 - which was upheld by the appeal court.

IEN who left nursing > 5 years

I received the following question from an IEN on my "IEN preparing to apply to CRNBC" blog post.
From haidee gabriel on Tuesday, July 02, 2013 12:57:00 AM: 
My name is [name-removed for privacy] and I'm a registered nurse in the Philippines and my case is kind of the same with Raine's situation, an internationally educated nurse who relocated from the Philippines to BC, Canada. I wasnt able to practice my profession as well in the Philippines. The difference about my case and Raine's is that, I graduated March 2007 and its been 6 years now. Do you think I can still challenge the exam or continue with my application? I need your expert opinion about this. What do you think is the best thing to do so i can still be a registered nurse here? I still want to challenge the exam if possible coz i dont have much time to go back to school coz i have a little baby. Your response to this email will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance. Please email me your response as well in my email add if you dont mind, its [email-removed for privacy] Thank you so much once again.

Hi Haidee,

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

I need your expert opinion about this.

Firstly, let me be very clear about this: I am NOT an expert on the subject of your questions, nor was I ever an expert; and I did NOT EVER claim to be so. PLEASE DO NOT GET ME INTO TROUBLE BY STATING/IMPLYING OTHERWISE. I am just another IEN sharing my personal experience and opinions. If, for some reason or other, you missed my declaration and disclaimer on my other blog post, I  am replicating it here (below) for your information. Please read through it so that you are clear on the purpose/value of my personal sharing.
DECLARATION and DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion. I am not from CRNBC nor in any way qualified to give advice to Internationally Educated Nurses, and thus any content from me shall be construed as a sharing of personal opinion, not advice. I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided by me. Under no circumstances will I or anyone related to this content be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from any reliance on the information or other content posted or linked by me.
Ok, now that we're clear on the purpose of my sharing, let's look at your issues. 

CLPNBC is very clear that about your situation here. Quote from CLPNBC website:
If you have been out of nursing practice for five years or more, you will be required to complete further education prior to writing the CPNRE.
For CRNBC, I would recommend that you attend one of their "Registration Informational Sessions" to get the answer from the horse's mouth. It is held monthly at CRNBC premises.

For both nursing boards, the rules are changed/updated frequently, so I suggest that you check directly with the boards than to rely on hearsay -- e.g. from people like me who applied for registration years ago when the rules were different for us back then.

i dont have much time to go back to school coz i have a little baby.

I've met an IEN who is meeting the CRNBC requirement for a nursing re-entry course via the mostly-online program from Thompson Rivers University. In other words, there are options for those who "do not have time to go back to school".

However, before you embark on any nursing re-entry training, I strongly recommend that you consult CRNBC and/or CLPNBC for their assessment on what their specific requirements are for you to return to nursing. Do not waste resources on training that would not be of any use to you. Do NOT trust anyone or any organization who/which claims to be able to provide you training that will ensure your nursing registration -- only the 2 nursing boards are authorized to decide on the appropriate trainings required. In short, follow the rules, or go your own way at your own peril.

So what can you do in the meantime? If you need above minimum-wage income, I suggest checking out the requirements for Registered Care Aide. With that registration, you can work as a Care Aide. There are private companies that assign shifts according to your availability for home care. [Click here and here for examples.] In addition, click here for some resources (e.g. funding, accreditation centres) available for foreign-trained immigrants to return to their professions.

Lastly, you did not mention it but I'd cover the matter for completeness since (IMHO) I have heard some complaints about discrimination and/or non-recognition of foreign training from other IENs. The requirement for re-entry training after having left nursing for 5 years or more is not specifically targeted at IENs. How do I know? I have personally met a Canadian-trained RN who had to do a nursing re-entry course as a result of having left the nursing profession for years. Note: Visually, she is a "white" Canadian; so yes, as far as I am aware, the system is fair and transparent.

As for emailing you, my apologies that I prefer not to correspond privately with any of my readers, unless you know me personally (face-to-face) otherwise. Hope the above helps. If you have further queries, please drop a comment below.

Cheers, WD.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Canada Day, 3x!

Happy Canada Day!

Click here for a video from Citizenship and Immigration Canada on "A free Canadian".


This is my 3rd Canada Day (or around 2 years 9 months since landing). I have been quite busy for the past 2 months, and today is a break for me to rest and relax. And also a time/chance for another "migration & settling-in" progress review (compared to my previous blog on it 6 months after landing).

V Local friends: I had been blessed for the friends I've made since arrival. Some of whom I can count on in an emergency. Admittedly, I've placed bad bets on a few persons who entered (and thankfully have since left) my life. Overall, I enjoy my interactions with people whom I've met in Canada.

V Canadian income: I have just started working last month (June-2013), albeit not full-time. That is, I am taking some shifts here-and-there, as I was juggling between job interviews, nursing trainings, and personal life. Still my first month's income was enough to cover my usual basic expenses.

V Career: Grabbed the 1st RN nursing job offer and started working. I'm happy to say that it turns out to be a good match (at least from the 1st month of work). I will write more on my career thoughts when I have time in future.

V Living accommodations: I used to think that I would like to rent a studio with my own kitchen and toilet. And preferably a studio near my workplace. As it turns out, I have gotten used to living with my landlord and landlady. Even though I had an opportunity to rent my own basement apartment at a really reasonable price recently, I decided not to.

V Getting around: I am still relying on the good public transport infrastructure to get around. My plan is to get a Canadian driving licence by the end of this year to improve my job opportunity.

V Credit rating: In progress.

V Love life: Going great, surprisingly. I met a really nice fella, DD. DD joked that he cannot propose yet because we have yet to have our first "couple's quarrel". I asked him, "What if we don't ever quarrel?" [After all, both of us have been rather reasonable for any issues/disagreements so far.] He said, "Then we'll have to manufacture one." Since we had been talking casually about buying a place, I joked, "I know, let's go apartment hunting. It's a good way to get couples quarrelling." As usual, he agreed and joked, "I'll schedule it in my calendar: Start a couple's quarrel over apartment hunting."

Given the above (and considering what's happening in Singapore, click here and here), while I am currently still a Singapore citizen, I will weigh my citizenship options when the time comes.