Recruitment of Internationally Educated Nurses to Fill Canadian Vacancies

Migration processes significantly determine the state of the labor market. Canada is one of the most popular countries for immigration, and about 20% of its population was born abroad. For this reason, part of the workforce in the health care sector is represented by internationally educated nurses (IENs). This concept includes specialists who received nursing knowledge and skills abroad. Although IENs play an essential role in providing health services to the public, their recruitment is not always ethical and requires improvement.

Canada needs skilled staff ready to work in healthcare, as amidst an aging nation, many nurses will retire, and the number of older adults requiring care will increase soon. As a result, the main benefit of hiring IENs is addressing the shortage of hospital staff. IENs are characterized by high-quality education, good language knowledge, often having experience, and various cultural backgrounds. For this reason, they can do well with patients, and representatives of different cultures, which will contribute to an individualized approach and better outcomes. Cultural diversity is also associated with a high level of innovation, the introduction of new skills and knowledge, and increased efficiency of the working team. IENs bring significant advantages to society by bringing their knowledge and skills to the healthcare system.

The benefits of hiring IENs are very influential for Canada, but several drawbacks are crucial to consider. IENs often receive lower salaries than their Canadian counterparts, and working conditions may not meet expectations. There is difficulty in integrating new nurses into the Canadian system. Remarkably, there are cases when having an education and making efforts for re-certification, IENs were unable to continue practice. This pitfall leads to the ethical aspect of hiring IENs and the need to improve integration processes.

Hiring IENs implies that the labor force in their country of origin decreases, and more prosperous countries fill vacancy gaps at the expense of less economically developed countries. Simultaneously, integration into the new work environment is not always successful, making IENs leave their profession and leading to difficulties with earnings. These facts have attracted global attention and contributed to calls for ethical recruitment of nurses. Ramji and Etowa note that integration is a two-way process – with adequate employer support, IENs can positively affect healthcare and demonstrate commitment to the workplace. For ethical recruitment, the need for fairness comes to the fore-legality, transparency, equal pay, and support. Ethics application will make integration more effective and improve the health system.

Thus, attracting and hiring nurses from abroad is critical for Canada. IENs fill the shortage of personnel in the health system and bring cultural diversity. As a result, healthcare is becoming more innovative, and patient outcomes are improving. However, IENs may have difficulty integrating, and employers can treat them unfairly. For these reasons, it is crucial to make the recruitment process more ethical, first and foremost respect the fairness principle.

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