Canadian training is vital for working in the nursing and healthcare fields in this country and extends beyond upgrading your English and learning Canadian work-related practices. It includes fostering this country’s cultural attitudes as well.
If you are a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) from a country outside Canada, you need preparation to take the exams that will qualify you for an RN or an LPN license in this country. You must also be able to communicate well in English with an understanding of Canadian attitudes before seeking employment here.
Prepare for Licensing and Certification at a Career College
A career college will train and prepare you for working as an RN or LPN in Canada, and various courses will cover the skills you need to pass your English exam and your licensing exam. You may also take a co-op work program or a practicum, too.
You must be able to communicate with ease when you work in the health field. You have to be able to understand written and verbal instructions and be able to write reports that can be understood clearly as well. You can’t make mistakes when you record a patient’s vital signs as these are the basis on which medications are prescribed and treatment is selected.
If you are not from a country where English is spoken—e.g., USA, Australia, England, South Africa—but you can speak, read, and write the language, you will be tested and placed in an appropriate English course. As you improve your ability to communicate, you will move up through various levels of English until you are properly prepared for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and score 8.0 or above in the exam. If you fail it, you can repeat courses and try again until you pass.
- Practical Information and Training
You can choose the registered nurse training stream or the licensed practical nurse training stream. Some courses are similar but modified for either RN or LPN training, and cover such material as:
- professional terminology
- professional standards
- ethics and responsibility
- keyboarding and Microsoft training
- clinical procedures
As well, you will take:
- preparation for RN or LPN exams
- a co-op work term or practicum
- Cultural Information
When you are imparting information to patients, you must take into consideration Canadian attitudes and expressions so that you always offer encouragement and positive reinforcement. In your training classes, pay attention to ways in which Canadians express themselves and their body language. Your sensitivity to Canadian thinking is crucial if you want to be effective when you are working in the field.
Journalist Tom Blackwell reported recently in the National Post that international medical graduates often have “gaps” in their cultural awareness. These are a few examples:
- In some countries, men look after men and women after women but, in Canada, there are no such restrictions and you must be able to care for people of the opposite sex.
- Eye contact is important, and you must make an effort to look people in the eye when talking to them.
- Confidentiality can be a problem for some newcomers to this country but it is important that you remember to respect the privacy of Canadian patients.
- Invading personal space by standing very close to patients is not acceptable in Canada. If you aren’t sure what that means, ask a teacher for a demonstration and remember to be aware of distances. People will often take a step backwards (if they can) when you are too close to them. Watch for that and don’t move forward to reduce the space if it happens.
Healthcare and Nursing are Good Career Choices
Canada has a shortage of nurses, particularly specialty nurses, and practical nurses as well. You will be very welcome to work in Vancouver, in other towns in BC, and other parts of the country. The nursing and healthcare fields present good employment opportunities when you have satisfactorily completed your training and passed your exams. With an aging population, the demand for more RNs and LPNs in Canada will continue for a long time to come. These are good careers!
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